This is the time of year that we are searching for chometz . Chometz represents slavery, not just physical, but spiritual – the inability to make the decisions that we want to make because we are held back by what we feel like doing. A smoker is not free. A drug addict is not free. A compulsive eater is not free. Now freedom doesn’t necessarily mean never again eating chocolate cake. It means being able not to do so when you are on a diet.
So this is the time of year during which we ‘search’ our ‘houses’ for chometz. Yes, we do so literally. But the literal in Judaism is always guiding us to the spiritual. We search not only our homes, but also our selves. Now is the time to look inside and see where we are free and where you are not. Where are we out of control? Where are our desires and not our decisions driving our life? Are we working to live or living to work? Do we actively decide how much time to spend with our children, or does it just happen when it happens? Do we feel something when we daven, or do we allow distracting thought to take us somewhere else? Do we maintain perspective when we get angry, or do we allow ourselves to be swept up in the feeling and act inappropriately towards those we love?
Every one of us has our areas in which we are out of control and taking time to identify them is what the weeks before Pesach are all about. We are meant to be searching every nook and cranny of ourselves for chometz. We are meant to be getting it all out in the open, so that on erev Pesach we can make a decision to ‘destroy’ them – to live for 7 days with no influence from them. There is a special segulah on Pesach that we are able to do this. Chairus is a spiritual reality, not just a theory. Pesach is a bracha; a week in which we can live free from our addictions; a week of wresting control of our lives back. It’s a powerful time and if we focus and actually do it, so much can be accomplished.
Why not set aside a short period of time before Pesach to figure out where your own chometz lies, then take just one area and regain control at least for the week of Pesach? Torah is never easy, but the fascinating thing is that when you do it properly, it actually does work. People don’t usually see that because they give up before they even start. But I know from experience – give it a shot and it will make a difference in your life.