Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
Bedikas Chametz In The 21st Century
There are two schools of thought on how to do Bedikas Chometz.  One is that we must get on our hands and knees and check every nook and cranny.  While we regale in the images of yesteryear, today this is an almost impossible feat.  We no longer live in one or two room homes with a few cabinets.  We have large homes filled with so much stuff.  Think about clothing and checking all the pockets.  We are talking about triple digit pockets for a large family.  Then think about all the various knapsacks, pocketbooks, briefcases, etc.  Drawers, toys, cabinets, under and behind heavy furniture.  

Then there is the food situation.  In days gone by you were lucky if you had three decent meals a day and a little food in the cupboard.  Today our pantries are overflowing trying to keep up with the children's never ending demand for more food.  Officially they only eat five times a day (Breakfast, Snack, Lunch in School, Lunch at home, and supper), but come on, who could hold out that long between meals?  This means that you need to search for the Bamba, pretzels crumbs, taffy wrappers, and other assorted residue that can be literally anywhere.  Even if you only make a cursory Bedika, as many hold to be acceptable, since the cleaning has been going on for a month or more, you have only spread your work over time but the task is still enormous.  I must sadly admit that every year in our house one Chol HaMoed activity is burning the Chametz we inevitably find during Pesach, whether an old sandwich in a toy box or a candy bar in a knapsack that somehow evaded inspection.

The Peleh Yoetz says that the Remez of Chametz is the Yetzer Hara of whom we must rid ourselves.  He says that the Remez is not just a Remez but it is the Pshat, the basic on the surface meaning of the mitzva!  The Shach in Po'el Tzedek says that the seven days of Pesach represent the seventy years of the life of man, which must all be free from the Yetzer Hara.  The key he says is Gaava or pride, the yeast which lifts the dough and allows the Yetzer Hara free entry.  Hashem warned the Bnei Yisroel that when they arrive to Eretz Yisroel and start gaining a measure of material success it will lead to forgetting Hashem.  Pride is the natural outgrowth of success.  Pride is a recipe for disaster.

Throughout most of the current Galus we have been beaten and battered at the hands of the nations, like the dough in the matza bakery at the hands of the people pounding it into flat discs.  Under those circumstances our homes and possessions were quite limited and so were our aveiros.  They were easy to spot with a short search and quickly rectified.

In the tail end of the Galus, Hashem has given us a totally different challenge. Although comfortable physically, it provides the hardest test spiritually.  Hashem has stopped the pounding and we sit on the table like dough, rising and overflowing with all material good without any oppression.  Our homes, hearts, and minds have become so distracted from all this  abundance that we have become so full of Chametz and we don't even know where to start looking.

There was once a concept called Cheshbon HaNefesh.  People would actually account for all there aveiros periodically, nightly, weekly, monthly, and yearly.  Life was slow paced and people were busy struggling to survive with their spirit intact.  They didn't have must time or opportunity to run up a long diverse list of sins.  In todays communication age we communicate so much through so many different means, we have know idea what we said in the last fifteen minutes, let alone be able to sit down at the end of the day and account for all we said and did.  Every time we get into our car we can commit countless transgressions of anger, impatience, and selfishness during a single five minute journey.  No wonder those crumbs are so hard to clean from the floor of the car and the crevices under the seats are unreachable.

We are a unique generation, challenged with unparalleled nisyonos.  If you don't believe me think for yourself how difficult it is to clean the Chametz, or ask your wife.  May we all be zocheh to rid ourselves of all the crumbs and burn them in the fire, watching them go up in smoke.  Then we will be zocheh to don our finest clothing for the Seder and raise our Kos of wine and enjoy the Geula.  Vayehi BaChatzi HaLayla!