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What is the kabbalistic view on chametz?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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Well, the difference between Chametz and Matzah is that chametz is bloated, which signifies arrogance, while the matzah is flat, signifying humility. So chametz gets a pretty bad rap.

The Zohar makes a pretty radical statement in saying that eating chametz on Passover is like bowing to idols, probably because arrogance is self-worship, a form of idolatry. The great kabbalist Arizal said that he who abstains from even a tiny bit of chametz over Passover is ensured that he will not sin [unintentionally] throughout the year.

"...eating chametz on Passover is like bowing to idols, probably because arrogance is self-worship, a form of idolatry...."
The Arizal also wrote a pretty interesting prayer to recite during the ritual of burning the chametz: “May it be your will, G-d…that just as I am destroying chametz from my home and my domain so shall all “outside forces” and the spirit of impurity be removed from the earth and may you remove our evil inclination from within us and give us a heart of flesh to serve you in truth and may all darkness and wickedness be consumed in smoke…Amen. Get the picture?1

See also Why is chametz only forbidden on Passover?

Footnotes

  • 1. Sources: Zohar 2:182a; Beer Heitev, Orach Chaim 447:1.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Passover » Chametz

Chametz
Any leavened product which is produced from wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats. This includes bread, cake, cereals, crackers, biscuits, yeast, pasta and whisky. It is forbidden for a Jew to possess or consume Chametz throughout Passover.
Matzah
(pl. Matzot). Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Zohar
The most basic work of Jewish mysticism. Authored by Rabbi Shimeon bar Yochai in the 2nd century.
Arizal
Rabbi Isaac Luria, the 15th Century founder of Modern Kabbalah.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.