Cleaning the Inner House for Pesach

I received this from Tikkun magazine via email and thought that it was well worth sharing.  I added the link to the Israeli Conservative Movement’s responsum about kitniyot:

A note on Passover preparation and observance for those into the ritual pracice: many traditional families spend lots of time getting their homes kosher, switching to a new set of dishes, and ridding their house of all chametz (wheat, spelt, oats, barley and things made from chametz like wheat in vinegar, soy, mayonnaise, cookies and crackers, etc.)  Unfortunately, this often occupies so much time that the far more important spiritual preparation is forgotten: getting ourselves ready to liberate ourselves from the self-inflated egos and the stuck places in our lives that make it hard for us to fully commit to the struggle for human liberation that Passover teaches us is possible and necessary. So this year, plan in advance how to give that spiritual preparation a bigger time commitment!  Passover starts at dark on Saturday night April 19th and finishes at dark on Sunday night, April 27th. On those days, Jews are forbidden from eating anything with chametz, including pies, cakes, breads, pizzas, and all the things that are made from leavened wheat products. Ashkenazi Jews extended this practice to include “kitniyot,” which include beans, rice, soy, legumes and corn.  Recent rabbinic rulings, pointing to the fact that Sephardic Jews do not observe such a ban, and that kitniyot are not prohibited in Torah, have called upon Ashkenazic Jews to drop the ban on kitniyot for the sake of greater unity in the Jewish people. 

It’s worth noting, as I do every year, that ancient Egypt was one of the places which invented/discovered the art of baking leavened bread, as an offshoot of their beer brewing industry.  So in rejecting leavened bread for a week or 8 days, we are literally rejecting the bread of Egypt; and symbolically, for us, that means the bread of slavery and oppression.  Just remembering that adds a whole new dimension of meaning to our Pesach cleaning and observance every year.