A Passover Tale

Judith came in from the fields where it appeared as though the whole community was out harvesting the new grain crop. The rains had ceased and the ground had dried enough to enable them to walk through the plants and collect the ripened sheaves. The stone house still felt damp from the winter and she helped her mother empty the storage urns of the remainder of the previous year’s grains.

The moisture had gotten into everything. They recognized the aroma of slowly fermenting wheat and barley and they did not want the old to contaminate the new. Judith’s mother even took the little wad of dough she always removed after kneading to put in a cool covered pot to help the next batch rise and added that also to the pile to take out and burn. They were so careful that after sweeping the stone floor with the palm fronds they took feathers and swept out the corners.

Judith thought about how the Chametz puffed up the bread she liked so much, yet considered how a similar spoilage often puffed her up with pride. She always felt cleansed as she warmed her hands with the heat of the burning Chametz. Both because it reminded her of the escape from slavery to freedom, the beauty of purity and simplicity and because she knew it would only take a week for her mother to create a new starter, Judith didn’t mind eating the Matzah her mother would make with the brand new dough.

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