Pesach and the Profound Search for a Piece of Pretzel

From the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Pesach and the Profound Search for a Piece of Pretzel
April 5, 2017 Ron Caras
I love to behold it. From my balcony I watch as all of my neighbors begin to make their uncharacteristically high number of trips to the dumpster daily. Men, women and children are seen in the streets, arms overflowing with stuff to throw away, and schlepping huge bags of clothes to the donation bins. My favorite part is the outlandish-looking truck that comes booming down our little street in Tsfat for its annual pickup of oversized things- a worn out couch, an inefficient dryer, that lamp that has been half-broken for months. This is the time, when we as a nation roll up our proverbial sleeves and clear out all of the things that have been overcrowding our homes and our minds.
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The Mitzvah in the Torah is to totally free our houses of Chametz, or leavened food. You can’t eat it, see it, nor have it in your possession. Which means no half-eaten sandwiches behind the couch, no cracker corners, no pretzel crumbs, etc… The searching and cleaning that we do during the month leading up to Pesach, all come to a climax when on the 14th of Nissan, the night before the Seder, (this year Sunday night) we light a candle and examine every corner of the house to verify that indeed, it is free of Chametz.
This is the time, when we as a nation roll up our proverbial sleeves and clear out all of the things that have been overcrowding our homes and our minds.
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What is the spiritual significance of this practice? One of Rebbe Nachman’s prime disciples explains.(1) Chametz during Pesach is the manifestation of psycho-spiritual negativity- our Yetzer Harah. The candle represents the soul, as it says “The flame of G-d is the soul of man.” On this night, I unleash the glow of my soul, let go of my fear of what she may find, and allow her to shed light into those dark crevices of my heart and mind, illuminating any kernel of Chametz, (self-doubt, resentment, anger, guilt, boredom, jealousy, sadness, despair…) With a fresh look on my internal enemy, I know what I am dealing with, and can thus begin to clean out my Shmutz.
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“So what if I have some Chametz-encrusted-buildup inside?” You may ask. “Why not just let it be, and I’ll continue to function in my life?” Well you see, my friend, the more Chametz you have, the more of a slave you are. Pesach is called “The Time of our Freedom.” The more I clean out my Chametz, the more I can really be free.
Chametz during Pesach is the manifestation of psycho-spiritual negativity- our Yetzer Harah
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And here, Rebbe Nachman’s student explains something amazing. He asks: “Why when we do this candle-check on the night before Pesach do we say the blessing “Al Biur Chametz,” “on the burning of the Chametz,” when right now we are only searching? The burning is only done the next morning. And he answers- just being on the search is the most essential part of growth. Even if I haven’t uprooted my personal Chametz, but I am embarking on a serious quest to find it and fix it, I am well on my way to spiritual greatness.
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So, this Erev Pesach, as you bravely embark on an authentic search for half-eaten crackers behind your lazy-boy, may you unleash the light of your pure soul, your highest self, to cast her soul-beam on any spiritually damaging thought patterns, habits and emotions. It is a solo- journey which unifies you with your people, all on their solo-expeditions. And may your simply being on the search open your head, heart and soul to experience the awesome light of freedom that is about to descend this Seder night.
Even if I haven’t uprooted my personal Chametz, but I am embarking on a serious quest to find it and fix it, I am well on my way to spiritual greatness.
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1. Based on Nachat HaShulchan, Siman 431
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Please note: We spent much time and effort to bring the inspirational teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov as accurately as possible in this article. If you find any mistakes in translation or have trouble understanding the article, please let us know! Feel free to comment below.
We bless the viewers to be connected to Rebbe Nachman and to his teachings, and to always be happy and inspired…

Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me’Uman 🙂

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