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Passover is the time Jews around the world rid their house of that leavened substance dubbed "chometz." Chometz is really a term meaning "fermented." When flour comes in contact with water and it remains idle for some time, it begins to rise. In the baking of bread, the bread is set aside to rise. True, we add yeast to aid in the rising; but unaided, the dough will rise of itself due to a chemical reaction of the water and the flour. This by-product is called "chometz" and is forbidden by Jewish law with severe penelties for violators.
Now this really does not sound fair. The entire year we eat bread and other fermented flour products, such as beer, whiskey, crackers, noodles - the list is endless! Why all of a sudden, does this become a tremendously forbidden food, to the extent that we must purify our kitchens and houses; change over our dishes and purchase special foods. What is the big deal if we eat it for 51 weeks of the year, does it make sense that suddenly it becomes forbidden?
Perhaps the answer is found in examining the differences between matzoh and bread. Matzoh is made very simply: flour and water. It is baked before the dough has a chance to rise. Matzoh must be wached carefully prior to baking to insure that it does not rise. Bread, in its simplist form, is made of the same ingredients: flour and water, the exception is that the dough is set aside to rise, to ferment. This fermentation process gives bread the distictive qualities of taste, and fluffyness. The fermentation process changes the taste and gives it the bread taste and in this process causes the bread to rise. Matzoh, on the other hand, does not under go any taste change, and the matzoh reflects the true taste of the flour. The matzoh does not rise, therefore it is not as filling as the bread, even though weight-wise it is the same.
The true taste of the flour is to be found in the matzoh. Matzoh is the truth. This is where we must start. The world is full of lies.
Let us now consider, between the two, truth and lies, which do you think is more attractive? Which makes a more enjoyable story? Which do you think is more able to convince you of its validity, truth or lies?
The answer should be clear. The truth can only be itself. If you don't like it, well, it can't change. If it could change, then it wouldn't be truth, would it? Lies can say any thing they want. They can be as desireable as they want in order to convince you.
Chometz is the symbol of falsehood in this world. Truth must be guarded and watched, just like the matzoh. While chometz can be puffed up, just like a lie; the matzoh is just what it is, nothing more, nothing less.
Well, if that be so, why should we be permitted to eat bread the whole year? Perhaps we should eat only matzoh!
We live in a world of lies. Some people succumb to the lies and falseness of the world, they actually believe in the plastic Hollywood ideals. Others believe in the polictical slogans and ideals. Yet, others may choose to be more pragmatic and believe only in the virtues of money and the markets. How many people get involved in one "ism" or another, only to be left high and dry years later.
We, too, must go through the same world. We too are in danger of being snared by the attractive approach of falseness. How can we be sure that we too will not be caught like so many others in the jaws of lies? How can we insure ourselves and our families that we will live lives free of enslavement to lies? The answer is simply by knowing the truth. By knowing the simple truth, no lie can have sway upon you.
And by the way, what is the truth? That G-d took us out of Egypt with an out streched arm and redeemed us from slavery and that He is still around, willing to help us when we call to Him.
from the April 1998 - Passover Edition Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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