Small Chametz, Big Lesson

An idea for Pesach: Why do we not recite the Shehechyanu blessing when we begin the the Passover holiday with the search for – and burning of – chametz? In general, whenever we have a rare mitzvah, we recite this blessing to commemorate the occassion. The obvious answer is this act is included in the Shehechyanu we recite the next night (kind of how we have the blessing before the Megilla on Purim count for the other mitzvoth of the day). Another insight, however, suggests the following: Often, when we search for Chametz, we prepare 10 pieces of perfectly good chametz and hide them throughout the house for the ‘search’ that follows. We then burn these pieces the next day. Though permissible – and even obligatory – this act of destruction, this wasting of resources, albeit barely calculable resources, should not be blessed. And indeed, whenever there is financial loss involved in an act, this blessing of Shehechyanu should be omitted. It doesn’t matter that the actual financial loss is barely recognizable; after all, for someone out there, even a small piece of bread is valuable. And that’s what the Halacha reminds us at this point. What a spectacular sensitivity the halacha has. Avoid waste. Be aware of other’s financial needs. Recognize that even something small can make a difference.

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