Chametz is yeast; dirt is dirt. Chametz is alive; dirt is dead. Chametz has power; dirt is powerless.
This passover, I was reminded that dirt is not chametz as I cleaned up my chametz and my dirt. But now, weeks and months later, I am reminded that dirt is not chametz, and it seems less like practical advice about not confusing removing leaven for Passover with spring cleaning and more like a simple truth about how to live a life pleasing to God.
When I remove the chametz from my life, I do so in response to a command of God and out of my heart’s desire to please Him. The result is that I live in unleavened sincerety and truth, love and kindness, mercy and justice.
When I am so distracted by my desire to remove dirt from my life that I ignore the chametz, I am doing that out of a desire to please myself. As a result, I have nothing but dirt on the mind and the chametz piles up all around me! Dirt is uncomfortable. It’s ugly. Dirt makes me feel bad, out of control, and reminds me of how careless and slovenly I can be. Yuk. But dirt isn’t chametz, isn’t something I was commanded to remove. So what is dirt? Dirt is what makes us uncomfortable in life. Dirt is the bad day on the job. Dirt is conflicting plans and circumstances that do not cooperate with us. Dirt is, above all, nonmoral, inert. Dirt is that thing that we would choose to remove–that thing we would like to remove–while we hold on to our chametz, our live, active sin cultures in our soul.
This week, I’ve been distracted by a search for dirt when I really needed to search for chametz. Dirt is not chametz. Dirt makes me unhappy. Chametz–malice, wickedness, pride–makes me evil. G-d help me to remove the chametz from my life and not be distracted by the dirt.