I love the Passover season, when we begin preparing our homes for the observance of the memorial celebration of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Weeks before Passover begins, we start searching our homes and our hearts for chametz (leaven). This process means searching every room, cleaning and vacuuming the entire home, making sure you either eat or give away any items that contain chametz before the day of Passover.
While we are literally turning our houses upside down in the search for chametz, we also begin to search our hearts for any spiritual chametz, or sins we have allowed to find a place to attach themselves to. Sin, like little crumbs, can be hidden in many ways and in many places. Like the little crumbs which were dropped, we had intentions of picking up spiritual chametz, which requires more than a simple scan from across the room to notice. We need to lift rugs, clean hard to reach corners, pick up the curtains and blinds, and move furniture. The search for chametz has to be intentional and purposeful.
During this time of year, as we begin our search, we read a portion from the book of Leviticus that includes the commandments concerning commonly translated leprosy. It is interesting that the commandments concerning this disease, like searching for chametz, required not only the person to be examined but also the home in which they dwelled. Traditional teaching connects with Lashon Hara (evil speaking).
This teaching comes from the Torah in Numbers 12, where we read of the rebellion of Miriam and Aaron against Moses. These two spoke evil against their brother, and Miriam was stricken with tza’arat. From this example as well as other verses such as Deuteronomy 24:9, we see the direct connection between tza’arat and Lashon Hara.
Because at this time of year at our home we are actively searching for chametz, both spiritual and physical, and considering the annual reading of the reading about tza’arat, I make it a point to include in my focus searching particularly for any hidden spiritual chametz caused by evil speaking about others, especially about those called of G-D to leadership. Tza’arat, like chametz, can be removed, and the home and or person made clean. One key part of the commandment that must be observed is that once the person or home is made clean, the person must go to the priest. The priest must pronounce them clean.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Click on the podcast below to hear Dr. David Herzog explain why Passover is so important for Christians.