Do you ever feel like you're missing the mark? The ancient Jewish sages understood that it can be hard to get things right, and they wondered why. They phrased the question and the answer like this: "Why does man miss the mark? It is because of the leavening in the bread." The leavening in the bread? That's a strange answer!
But the sages understood bread as an analogy for mankind. When God created the first man, he created him much like we create bread. He took flour (dust of the earth) water (water) and then he shone the sun on him (baked him.) In this bread-formula for man, what is the yeast, the leavening? It is our lack of humility, is the part of us that rises in anger and in pride. It is the part of us that resists acting modestly.
This lends some insight into the deeper meaning of Passover, which begins this year, tonight. The one thing that everyone knows about Passover is that it's celebrated by eating matzah. We get rid of all traces of leavened bread, and eat instead only matzah. What's this all about? Matzah is a flat bread, and is said to be humble bread. By purifying ourselves of the leavening in our foods, we're making a symbolic attempt at purifying ourselves of the leavening in our own personalities. It's an effort towards cultivating our own humility and inner modesty.
Dear readers, do you have any suggestions on how to cultivate this inner aspect of modesty?