A wishful passover message from The Jew and the Carrot:
Passover is a natural time to take an “environmental inventory” of the chametz in our world and to be mindful of the simple lives our ancestors led in the desert in their pursuit of freedom. Chametz is the Hebrew term for any of the five basic biblical grains which traditionally observant Jews remove from their homes. These include wheat, rye, oats, barley, and spelt—that have been mixed with water and allowed to ferment. Eastern European Jews also consider chametz to include a variety of beans, peas, rice, corn, peanuts, and other foods which could be ground and made into flour or bread.
When our ancestors were dwelling in the desert, they had no choice but to live simply. In our day, simplicity has come to mean conservation, not using more than you need, and not being wasteful. Jewish law prohibits wasteful consumption. When we waste resources, we are violating the law of bal tashchit—Do not destroy. (Deuteronomy 20: 19-20).
Matzah itself is a symbol of simplicity and humility, and is a metaphor for getting back to basics and our natural selves. It is in contrast to our leavened or puffed up, over-inflated selves caught up in accumulation and over-consumption. In A Night of Questions, A Passover Haggadah, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld further explains the paradox of matzah. Not only was it the bread that our ancestors did not have time to let rise as they fled Egypt, but it is also the bread that they ate as slaves. Yet, even in its simplicity, it was filling and satisfying—supporting the old adage that less is more. And since matzah is the bread that took us from slavery to freedom, it is also a symbol of the possibility for change. We can use this as an inspiration for making the kind of changes and choices that lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.con't