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A Child’s Passover Preparation

Monday, March 24th, 2014 11:25 am by shirlala

I smile at my memories of Pesach as a child. . . counting the books in the shelves as I dusted, the mysterious search for chametz with the candle and the feather, sitting at the big grown up seder following attentively as he led us through the journey challenging everyone with questions and queries, negotiating with my dad over the afikomen (for world peace of course), the hilarious drunken singing at the very very very end of the seder night "An only kid an ONLY kid" we sang with such drama, chocolate candy bars, matzah cake, fluffy pankcakes. . . What a great holiday for a child. So much to do!

Spring Cleaning
We knew it was the season when we started eating beans and grains at every meal, coming up with more and more creative ways to eat up our chametz. And then the deep spring cleaning began. Each one of us had a very specific job assignment in addition to cleaning out our bedrooms. My favorite job was addressing the rows and rows of bookshelves. I was to take out each and every book, dust it and put it back in. I remember letting the subjects and titles of the books swirl around in my imagination where I made up stories and songs to entertain myself.

B’dikat Chametz
As we got closer and closer to the 1st night Seder, the tables filled up with our regular dishes to be exchanged for Pesach dishes, Haggadot out of the attic, and the yummy smells of Pesach food filled the house. The night before Pesach, we did a big b’diKAT chaMETZ. This is the official and final "Search for chametz." As the youngest in the family, I hid about 10 pieces of bread (the very last in the house in this point) throughout a few rooms. Being a savvy and adventurous child, I had an excellent sense of bread hiding places. Then my family would gather, with a small paper bag, a long feather, a wooden spoon, and a tall candle. First my dad would lead us in the blessing,

"Blessed are you God, Rule of the Universe, who makes us holy with the commandments, and commands us to remove the leaven."

And then, by candle light (at least thats how I remember it) my family searched for the hidden bread. When someone found a piece they called out and every gathered around for my dad to pick up the chametz with the feather and spoon and brush it into the paper bag. Eventually we would always have to resort to the "hot and cold" game for searching and usually I would actually forget where I hid all of those little pieces. But we would get them all eventually. And then with all of the chametz in the bag my father would declare,

"Any kind of leaven which remains in my possession that I have not seen nor removed or about which I do not know shall be regarded as non-existent and considered as the dust of the earth." Mishneh Torah: Hilkot Hametz u-Matzah 2.1-3; 3.6-7

Oh the drama! And the fun! I’m very excited to follow this tradition with my young niece and watch her join in the excitement.

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Posted in Holidays, Pesach