Burning Chametz – Jewish Photos for JPiX

gerber daisy plant
Does a gerber daisy plant brought outside after winter count as a Jewish photo?

What’s Jewish photo? There’s not really any clear explanation, but it could be inspired by Judaism, Torah, Talmud, Jewish history, Jewish culture … could also be nature.

A few years ago a blog carnival called JPiX was started. You can learn more and see past issues of JPiX. Recently, we decided to have another issue, so I will be hosting one – if you want to participate, please send your posts by April 26 (form is at the bottom of the JPiX page). You have to have a blog – this is a blog carnival, not a Facebook sharing.

Pesach (or Passover) is coming next week, and for a month (since the day after Purim for me) we have been getting ridding of all our chametz – bread, crackers, pasta – all sorts of foods made out of wheat, barley, rye or spelt. In the process, people often do spring cleaning as well, throwing out, selling or giving way old stuff. On Friday we get rid of everything completely, and we eat no more chametz until Pesach is over. Friday morning there is a ritual called biur chametz, the burning of chametz. Here is a photo from last year:
burning chametz bread plastic
Yuck, someone left in the plastic. That makes it a little less pleasant.

When I was young, we did biur chametz in our backyard. Now it is supervised by municipal officials, making sure everything goes smoothly. My brother once woke up with a rash on his face the first day of Pesach. My parents thought he had a sudden allergy. Turns out, he had probably burn some poison oak by mistake. And the rash got on his face. He got better, don’t worry.

After burning the chametz, we say a few lines: part of the prayer is to nullify any chametz we may still have in our possession.
chametz burning
One particular tradition is to save your lulav from Sukkot (which was half a year ago) and burn it with the chametz on Pesach. This is a photo of my son (on the left) doing just that:
burning lulav biur chametz

Now because I totally missed posting anything at all about Purim (and I want to show Jewish photos for JPiX, here is a photo of my daughter dressed as a spy:
Purim spy

And backwards to Chanukah, here is a Chanukah candle lighting scene:
lighting chanukah candles

If you are Jewish, what are you doing to get ready for Pesach? If not, have you ever seen biur chametz? Or people dressed in Purim costumes? Have a great spring – I’ll be sharing flower photos soon.

12 thoughts on “Burning Chametz – Jewish Photos for JPiX

  • I enjoy Purim’s costumes! There are some creative ones, each year! Great post and photos to go with!

    • Lorri, costumes are fun! In some families, everyone has a costume with a theme. One family were Harry Potter characters, another family from Lord of the Rings. We just had my daughter as a Totally Spy.

  • Love following you, Leora. There are always such interesting traditions to experience through you that I’m totally unfamiliar with.

    • Annie, I love that you enjoy our traditions. We have quite a few. I could tell you about Bedikat Chametz (Checking for Chametz, but really a search) the night before, but I never take pictures of that. We turn off the lights in the house and use a flashlight to search for bread. My husband leaves 10 little pieces carefully wrapped. We are also supposed to be searching for “real” chametz, but the tradition is more symbolic than functional. The real cleaning of chametz goes on for a whole month since the end of Purim.

  • Great post Leora. I’m not familiar with biur chametz before Pesach, so good to hear. I like that you’ve included your family in this. I was raised a Catholic , so for me it’s been interesting to discover over the past few years how much more involved in daily life Jewish rituals are . We went to mass and I went to a convent school, but beyond that, there wasn’t a lot that effected our daily lives at home throughout the year. Always church based.

    • A.K, glad you enjoyed it! We do have a lot of rituals – to us, they are so common place. But to an outsider they may seem a little strange.

    • Jeannette, if I photograph any more, I will be happy to share. Not all are visually interesting, and we don’t use cameras on holidays or on the Sabbath.

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