Passover: Don’t Miss the Leaven of Your Heart

May we be ready to leave the slavery of sin and bad habits.

Toby Janicki


chametz cleaning leaven Passover sin slavery

I take cleaning on Passover very seriously. In fact, many years I have gone a little overboard. I may or may not have even broken a vacuum one year due to my obsessive-compulsive behavior in this area.

I’m committed to not resting until I know ever cabinet, every couch, and every corner of the house is completely cleared of any leaven before Passover. That’s what makes the story I’m about to tell you even funnier.

One year, while it was the middle of the Passover week, I got a craving for some ice cream. I went to the freezer and opened it up hoping there was some left. It was then that I noticed a big plastic bag in the doorway of the freezer. To my surprise, written in large letters right across the front of the bag in black permanent marker was the word bread. I couldn’t believe it! How in the world had I missed this massive bag of chametz! The amazing thing is that to clean the freezer as thoroughly as I usually do, it means that I would have lifted up this bag, cleaned underneath it, and then placed it right back. There was leaven right in front of my face, and I didn’t even see it.

For me, this is not only a humorous story but a reminder about the spiritual leaven that is in our own lives. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8). During the Festival of Passover, we as disciples of Yeshua are supposed to concentrate not only on removing physical leaven but the spiritual leaven from our hearts as well. Spiritual leaven is the leaven of sin and bad habits. As diligently as we search our houses, we need to examine our lives.

Sometimes, like in my story about physical leaven, we get so caught up in what we are doing that we don’t even realize that we have a significant issue of sin in our lives that is staring us right in the face. It’s up to us examine ourselves critically and not miss the major or the minor issues that need to be purged.

From all of us at 12-21, I want to wish everyone a kosher and joyous Passover! In this time of redemption, may we all take the time needed to cleanse our lives and be ready to leave the slavery of sin and bad habits.

About the Author

Toby Janicki is the main teacher and Camp Dad for the 12-21 youth initiative, as well as a teacher and writer for First Fruits of Zion. He is also the Communications Coordinator for the Torah Club program and has authored several books including God-Fearers and a comprehensive commentary on the Didache titled: The Way of Life.


chametz cleaning leaven Passover sin slavery

Image: Pixabay

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