Tonight is bedikas chametz, when we search our homes in order to remove all traces of leavened bread. Chametz, dough full of air, traditionally symbolizes arrogance. We are asked to remove from our hearts all traces of self-centeredness and conceit.
Yet, only eight days later, we’ll be bringing chametz back to our homes again. Do we get permission to be self-centered right after Pesach?
It seems that this generation, with its iPhones, iPods, selfies, and Facebook where people get to tell each other all about the minute details of their lives, is overly focused on the I, on the self. Yet, every idea and trend that comes down to the world is a reflection of some spiritual reality. What are the spiritual benefits of this self-focus?
There is a famous story of Reb Zusha of Anipoli, who used to say, “When I get to the next world I won’t be asked, ‘Why weren’t you Moshe Rabbeinu?’ I’ll be asked, ‘Why weren’t you Zusha?'” Each one of us will be asked, “Why weren’t you the best you could be?”
Each one of us has a unique potential and a unique mission in this world. Everyone has unique strengths and talents, given to us by Hashem in order to fulfill our mission. These talents are not an excuse to inflate our egos. Yet, the more aware we are of them the better we can fulfill our mission in life.
Perhaps the message of this I-centered generation, the message of bringing chametz back into our homes after Pesach, is that we should get to know ourselves and be aware of our uniqueness, not for our own self-aggrandizement, but as a step in making our unique, personal contribution to this world.
May Hashem help all of us fulfill our mission! Chag kasher v’sameach!