Passover begins on Friday evening April 22, but Jews around the world begin preparing for Passover many weeks ahead of time. One way to prepare involves the custom of removing all leavened products from the home. This custom is based on the passage from Exodus which reads:
For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove the leaven from your homes … you shall guard the unleavened bread, because on this very day I will take you out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day for your generations as an eternal decree. – Exodus 12:15-17
This commandment regarding leavened products applies not only to the consumption of bread, but to owning or deriving any benefit from any kind of leavened product in any way, shape or form. Therefore, as we begin our preparations for Passover (in whatever form it may take in our lives), consider trying to employ the values and lessons at the heart of this festival in ways that are meaningful today. Here are two ways to apply the prohibition against the possession of leavening:
Donate to the HCRJ Passover Food Drive: Rid your pantry of chametz or any other foods that you feel may help to feed the hungry.
Contribute to the Jewish Family Service Passover Assistance Program: This fund helps those in need purchase Passover products. If you are interested in supporting this annual food assistance program visit the JFS website at: www.jfshouston.org.