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NOLA Nachas, Purim Photos, Chametz Allergy

Thursday, 7 April, 2016 - 1:27 pm

In the past ten days our community celebrated two weddings, DL Nemes Wedding.jpgDevorah Leah Nemes to Leibel Katz (in New Orleans), and Chaya Schreiber to Noah Salowitz (in New York). Schreiber wedding.jpgBoth Kallahs (brides) are NOLA natives and Torah Academy graduates. To see these girls, who were raised in our community, lay the foundation of their respective new branches of the Jewish nation in the environment of a beautiful Chassidic wedding, is nothing short of real Nachas. The Rebbe once quipped that when Moshiach comes we will be able to point to dedicated young observant Jews and proudly declare “made in the USA.” To paraphrase, we can proudly point to these young women and the wonderful way that they began their married lives and declare “made in NOLA.” Mazel Tov to the Nemes and Schreiber families and the New Orleans Jewish Community!

We have uploaded dozens of photos from Purim in Outer Space courtesy of Gil Rubman. They can be viewed below or at www.chabadneworleans.com/3210273.

I recently read an article that was “gently” poking fun at the determination that some people apply to the removal of Chametz and extreme care that is exercised when purchasing or preparing Kosher for Passover food.  

While I understand the usefulness of introducing humor into sometimes stressful situations, I believe that many people are simply missing the point when it comes to attitudes toward Chametz and Pesach.

Two introductory points.

First: If one loves another, then one will go “all the way” when fulfilling the wishes of that loved one. When performing Mitzvot is motivated by love of Hashem, one does not seek to cut corners or get away with the bare minimum. Rather one seeks to fulfill the Mitzvah in the optimal manner.

Second: The prohibition of Chametz on Pesach is unlike any other food related prohibition in the Torah in that even the minutest quantity of Chametz may not be consumed on Pesach even if it is lost in a mixture that is many times its quantitative value (60, 100 or even 200 times as much).

General Mills has been promoting their method of ensuring the gluten free status of Cheerios. On the box they relate how a senior employee had a relative with Celiac Disease and that raised their awareness on how vital it was to really guarantee that the oats had absolutely no gluten products (wheat, rye etc.) mixed and the extremes they went to make that a reality. We find similar approaches to dairy or nut allergies, where disclosures are placed on containers of food that were merely processed on the same machinery as foods containing traces of those foods.

Now a Jewish Neshama, out of its love for Hashem and its understanding of the harmfulness of Chametz on Pesach, is “allergic” to Chametz on Pesach. Since many of us do not have a sensitivity for the reality of our Neshamas, we do not feel the urgency of those allergies and therefore have not developed an appreciation for the extreme care necessary to ensure that there be no Chametz on Pesach.

Taking it a step further. When we think of what Chametz represents in a deeper sense, the character flaw of arrogance, we gain a greater appreciation for how careful we need to be with Chametz on Pesach. (Matzah, on the other hand, represents humility.) The Arizal declares, that one who is careful to the extreme with Chametz on Pesach will be protected from sin throughout the year. These are some pretty powerful motivators for taking the spring allergy season for the soul seriously.

So enjoy the Pesach cleaning and don’t forget, a Matzah a day (on Pesach) keeps the ego away.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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