Friday, August 27, 2010


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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Ki Savo – Avos perakim 3-4

17 Elul 5770/ /August 27, 2010

So there I was, two weeks before Rosh Hashana, cleaning for Pesach! Now I am well aware that there are certain women who would be unimpressed with such a statement, as they have been begun cleaning for Pesach since shortly after Lag Ba’omer. But for me it was an anomaly.

Why was I even thinking about chometz? After spending two exhilarating months in our beautiful bungalow in Camp Dora Golding, this week we packed up and said goodbye to our summer home. As I vacuumed the floors prior to our departure I realized that we aren’t going to be living there again before Pesach. Therefore, I had in mind that I was fulfilling the mitzvah of destroying chometz when I vacuumed up the half cookies and cheerios under the couch.

In truth, chometz does have a deep connection with the Days of Awe. The gemara relates that our Evil Inclination is analogous to ‘the sourdough in the dough’, i.e. it is the catalyst of sin, much as the sourdough is the catalyst of the leavening process. In fact, there is a kabbalistic prayer recited by many at the time of the burning of the chometz, begging G-d to destroy the chometz from our hearts, just as we have burned the physical chometz from our homes.

In addition to vacuuming we also had to decide about a variety of items - whether we should schlep them home, or leave them in the bungalow for next summer iy’h.

That aspect of our experience was timelier. As the Days of Judgment inch closer we all have to become our own accountants. But for these dues there are no extensions or hope of evading the collectors. It is the Creator Himself who manages the books, as it were, and we are all signatories on His ruling. The month of Elul is the period of preparation when the prudent person makes an accounting and decides ‘what should be put away’ and ‘what should be taken along’.

The month of Elul sets the tone for the whole year. We must pack in whatever we can, because once we set off, there is no turning back.

Indeed that is just what we did this week. We packed up the car (twice, for two trips!) and with one last farewell we set off down the road looking ahead, hoping that the new year will usher in all sorts of blessings and good tidings, and that all of us merit a sweet new year, with no chometz along the way.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum