Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Pesach: The search for chomeits

by Aharon Rubin at Mystical Paths
Excerpt from Eye to the Infinite © 


The three Pilgrimage Festivals work through and purify the senses: taste on Pesach, hearing on Shovu'oth, seeing on Sukkoth. As you eat matsoh on Pesach, meditate on G-d's hiding in the world (His attribute of ayin nothingness). G-d is hidden; when He reveals His Presence, all become as ayin. This is the secret of matsoh and the prohibition of chomeits (leaven).

The Search for Chomeits

The preparatory acts to the festival of Pesach have profound meaning and meditative content. Chomeits represents the presence of evil in the world, the yetser hora.1 The actual festival of Pesach alludes to the time of complete redemption, when evil will no longer be able to exist, due to the Glory of G-d filling the world.2 Thus, on Pesach, chomeits has no intrinsic worth.3 It is considered non-existent. However, before the Final Redemption, each person must do their part to purify themselves from their own character-dregs and shadows.

Thus, on the night preceding
Pesach, we search the house for chomeits by the light of a single candle flame.4 The light alludes to the light of the soul.5 As you search the nooks and crannies with that light in your hand, realise that ‘a lamp of G-d is man's soul’ (Mishlei 20.27). G-d holds your neshomoh in His loving Hand.6 The neshomoh fills your innermost thoughts and feelings.7 Wherever you have consciousness, G-d is there with you.8

The prevalent custom is to place ten small pieces of chomeits in various places around the house, prior to the search.9 According to the kabbalists, the ten pieces correspond to the shadow side of the ten sefiroth.10 As you discover them during your search for chomeits, meditate on each of the ten sefiroth's character attributes' associated flaws, starting from malchuth, working upwards until kether. Have in mind that you are now introducing G-d's light - through the light of your soul - into those places, so that the darkness and shadows disappear, as where there is G-d's light, evil cannot exist.11 
The following are suggestions of shortcomings associated with each sefiroh:

Malchuth – Unawareness of G-d
Yesod – Relying on something other than G-d
Hod – Subordinance to elements outside the realms of holiness
Netsach – Trying to win a debate for your own aggrandisement
Tif'ereth – Projecting yourself not for the sake of Heaven
Gevuroh – Anger not for the sake of heaven; cruelty; stinginess
Chessed – Love of something for your own pleasure
Binoh – Use of imagination, reasoning or cognition, for something
outside the realms of holiness
Chochmoh – Absorbing wisdom for your own aggrandisement
Kether – Attaching mentally to realms outside holiness

On the morrow, the morning of the fourteenth of Nisson, as you burn the remaining chomeits, contemplate again the ten sefiroth, this time dwelling on their positive, holy attributes:

Malchuth – Awareness of G-d
Yesod – Reliance on G-d
Hod – Subordinance to G-d
Netsach – Perseverance for holiness and the sake of G-d
Tif'ereth – Projection of yourself for the sake of Heaven
Gevuroh – Restraint and firmness for the sake of Heaven
Chessed – Altruistic love
Binoh – Use of your mental faculties for holiness
Chochmoh – Absorbing wisdom to draw closer to G-d
Kether – Attaching and subsuming yourself entirely in G-d.

As the
chomeits burns, and you ritually annul all leaven, proclaiming it to be worthless,12 meditate on the time when all evil will disappear, when
all the glitter and tinsel of the material world, the lies and illusions of the yetser hora, will melt away before the Light of G-d, when G-d's Glory fills the earth, truth and harmony reigning supreme. 

See the fire burning the yetser hora within and the evil without. Experience the light of Moshiach, everyone recognising and knowing G-d, His Glory filling the world. The (letters of) חמץ chomeits will have become צמח Tsemach (lit. ‘sprouting’, alluding to the sprouting of the Davidic line), the name of Moshiach (also gematrioh of מנחם Menachem).13
With this mindset, aura and ambience, the time of the revelation of the Divine Presence, the pre-Pesach matsoth are now baked, whilst hallel is recited, and one prepares for the holy festival.14
 From Eye to the Infinite (© 5779) 

1 See Zohar II, 40b, 182b; R. Dovid ben Zimro, Radvaz Responsa, vol. 5, §546; Rabeinu Bachye, Kad HaQemach; see also, Brochoth, 17a; Ramchal, Derech HaShem, 4:1; R. Azaryoh Piccio, Binoh Lo'Ittim, Derush 27.
2 Tola'ath Yaaqov, p. 102.
3 See Pesochim 6b.
4 Pesochim 2a.
5 See Pesochim 7b; Tosefta (ibid.) 1:1.
6 Vayiqroh Rabboh, 31:4
7 Mishlei 20:27. See also, Brochoth 10a; Midrash Shochar Tov, Tehillim 104.
8 Brochoth 10a.
9 See Orach Chaïm, 432:2, Remo, ad loc.; Mishnoh Beruroh, §13.
10 R. Refo'el E. C. Raiqi, Mishnath Chassidim, Nisson 1:1; Pri Eits Chaïm, Section Chag HaMatsoth.
11 ‘A little light pushes away much darkness’: R. Bechaye, Chovoth HaLevovoth, Sha'ar Yichud HaMa'aseh, Chapter 5. 
12 Orach Chaïm, 434:2.
13 Yerushalmi, Brochoth 17a; Eichoh Raboh, 51:1.
14 See Orach Chaïm, 458; R. Chaïm Yosef Dovid Azulo'i, Avodath HaQodesh, Moreh Bo'Etsbah, §7. ( ערב פסח Erev Pesach (‘the Eve of Passover’) – with the letters and its entirety – is gematrioh משיח בן דוד Moshiach ben Dovid (with the words).


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