Monday, April 02, 2007

Burning chametz

Tomorrow morning (well, this morning actually - right now it is 3:30 am, but I'm not sure what time it will say when I post the blog or what time zone the blog is in) we will go outside and burn our chametz.
I know this is an important mitzvah, and encourage everyone to participate, but it can also be dangerous. There is actually a real fire involved !! (shock! horror!). Fire can be dangerous.
I was just looking at the yeshivaworld website. These are the rules for burning chametz in Monsey:

Monday April 2nd, 2007, Time: 6:30AM - 11:47AM. Location: Monsey Park & Ride/Drive-In Theater, Route 59. (The burning is for chometz only.) Children can visit the burn site only if accompanied by a responsible adult. Please wrap chometz in paper bags only. You will not be allowed to burn any chometz that is brought in plastic bags or aluminum foil. Accelerants will not be allowed. Plastic bottles, glass bottles and aerosol cans will not be permitted at the burn site.

There are several things that are slightly different than what they will be here in Yerusashalayim:
children - in monsey they must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Here they light the fire, stoke the fire, throw things in the fire, and sometimes even put out the fire at the end. And when I say children, I mean under 10. More than once I have been afraid to leave a bonfire because there were children poking at it with sticks, and no adults in sight! Hopefully this year will be different.
wrap chometz in paper bags! I don't think paper bags exist in this country, but if they did it would be a big improvement on the kinds of materials that people try and burn usually. The fire usually has all sorts of interesting (and probably carcinogenic) colours. Bread comes in a bag. So it must be a mitzvah to burn the bread and burn the bag, right? Hopefully this year will be different.
Accelerants will not be allowed - the truth is that with accelerants and other stuff people usually wait until lag ba'omer to really have fun with their fire. Burning chametz is just the 'warm up' (pun intended). At least burning chametz is a mitzvah. Hopefully this year will be different.
Plastic bottles, glass bottles and aerosol cans - I'm really hoping this year will be different over here

At the seder the kids will ask 4 questions about the differences between seder night and the rest of the year. I just hope and pray that the parents of those kids realise the importance of the mitzvah of burning chametz responsibly, and the even greater importance of the mitzvah of not putting life at risk. In 4 ways may this year be different than all other years.

Chag Sameach and happy, safe, burning

PS Don't get me wrong - I am as big a pyromaniac as the next bloke, but I don't want to risk anyone else's life or kids' life because of my irresponsibility.
PPS Apologies if this is too harsh. I am exhausted and still have lots to do. Just taking a short coffee/ blogging break.
Same to you too.

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