Monday, April 6, 2009

De Ronde van Vlanderaan: Great Excuse to get rid of some Chametz

It's spring, beginning of April to be precise, and for Jews, that means only one thing: Pesach is coming. Pesach, better known when incorrectly translated as "Passover", is a week-long holiday commemorating the deliverance of the Israeli people from slavery in Egypt. The holiday has many factors, but the main one is the dietary angle, where leavened and grain products are completely avoided. This kind of food is known in Hebrew as "Chametz", and Jews the world over are commanded to completely remove all chametz from their homes and their possession. The result is a major round of "spring cleaning" prior to the holiday, where Jews go through their homes with proverbial fine-tooth combs searching out every last piece of chametz to either eat, throw away, or sell to a non-Jew.

April is also the start of the Spring Classics, a month where we see the hardest, most epic one-day bike races in the world, and the first race is always the Ronde van Vlanderaan. For those of you who don't speak Flemish (a prerequisite to being a real cyclist), the Ronde is simply "The Tour of Flanders". And of course, the Flandrian countryside is in Belgian, the spiritual homeland of cycling (kinda like cycling's Israel). So of course I was watching the Ronde, and watching Stijn Devolder ride away to his second straight win, and as is compulsory with watching pro cycling in Belgium, I had to drink a Belgian beer. In this case it was Leffe Blonde, which doubles as my official Shabbat beer.

The whole point of this post is this: I got to enjoy watching the Ronde, and in the process of finishing off my beers, which are chametz, I was both supporting my sport, supporting a Belgian Brewery, and doing the mitzvah of ridding my house of chametz prior to Pesach.

Jewish Cycling indeed!

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