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Five little reminders as we approach the big night

בדיקת חמץ

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. It's Thursday and, after nightfall, we check for chametz. We search the entire house by candle light to make sure everything is clean and ready for Pesach .At the end, we nullify any overlooked chametz in a loud voice. We announce that even if there is chametz that we did not see nor find, it is effectively nullified.

2. It is customary to carry out the sale of chametz prior to Pesach and today this is easily and quickly accomplished digitally. (The popularity of the Google search words "selling chametz" is at its peak during these days.)

3. Tomorrow, Friday morning, we stop eating chametz just before 10 a.m. (Israel time) and we get rid of chametz (by burning it in small bonfires, or just by throwing it into a municipal garbage bin) just after 11:15 a.m (Israel time). There is special significance to the moments spent searching for and burning chametz, and there are special prayers concerning the chametz within us - pride and other negative traits - that we wish to banish.

4. Shabbat begins Friday evening followed by the Seder, which is held after nightfall. Earlier in the day, after all the preparations have been made, it is recommended to take an afternoon nap to gather strength for the big night. On Seder night, we observe not less than 64(!) different mitzvot: kiddush, eating karpas, eating maror, eating matzah, birkat hamazon, afikoman, telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, and many, many more.

5. And why do we do all this? What is the reason for these many details within details? We do all this in order to make the special message of the Exodus from Egypt personal, to establish it deep within our hearts, minds, and souls. I once heard a wonderful thought in this regard: The purpose of Seder night is to transform history into biography.

May we all enjoy success in this endeavor.


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