Need help answering a students question about Pesach

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Post  Wed, Apr 10 2019, 12:11 pm
I work as an assistant in a day school. At the end of class one of the students(high school) asked why do we really not have chametz on pesach aside for the not whole rising bread story. The teacher gave an answer about unity and was philosphical, but I could see this did not satisfy the student. I emailed her asking for more clarity, I don't want to tell her because Hashem said so, she needs something else that will give her a connection to Hashem and Judaism.. any suggestions on how to answer the following..

My question was just in general why do we need to have the whole no chametz thing? I'm not satisfied that just because the bread didn't rise we can't eat anything that rises. And if this is the case for not consuming any Chametz why are there lots of foods out there that don't rise, but we still can't eat them? It almost seems like the kosher brands have made it so they receive lots of business during this time of year by implanting ideas in us that we can't eat majority of foods during this time. I know this isn't true, but sometimes it feels like it.
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Post  Wed, Apr 10 2019, 12:31 pm
How old is the student?
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Post  Wed, Apr 10 2019, 12:35 pm
On a Spiritual Note
Chametz and matzah are almost the same substance, containing the same ingredients of flour and water. The one key difference is that while chametz bread rises, filling itself with hot air, the matzah stays flat and humble.

Thus, chametz represents that swelling of ego that enslaves the soul more than any external prison. It is for this reason that once a year on Passover, when we celebrate our freedom from slavery and our birth as a nation unto G‑d, we are extremely careful to eradicate any chametz that we may have.

The flat, unpretentious matzah represents the humility, self-effacement and commitment that are the ultimate liberators, enabling us to connect to G‑d without our egos getting in the way. And that is why eating matzah on Passover is so fundamental to our faith.

You also see this in the words chametz and matzah the only diff is the letter ches or hey. Chametz - leaves no space for Hashem. Matzah - has a hey with a space

Re the companies, it's just another manifestation of frum life in general that has become so materialistic due to availability and more overall wealth than previous gen. Personally I eat no products anyways but even if I did I would never do this whole fake pizza, cookie, cake thing. It's one week people - can you please leave aside your materialistic self - nope, people will pay for it so the businesses will provide it.
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Post  Wed, Apr 10 2019, 12:44 pm
There is a mitzvah to eat matza, and a separate mitzvah (repeated a number of times) not to have chametz. I can't cut and paste now, but we're talking about explicit pesukim in the Torah.

Matzah and chametz are opposites in one sense, but not completely. You don't need to get rid of chametz for pesach sheni.
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Post  Wed, Apr 10 2019, 2:08 pm
Go to Torah Anytime. Search Esther Wein's Pesach shiurim. There is a shiur from 2014 called "baavor zeh". Have a listen and see if you should recommend it to the student or summarize it for her. Perhaps you could learn it with the student. Answers the question on a much deeper level.

ETA ok just reread your op and this shiur more deals with "why we eat matza" than "why not eat Chametz" but the answer really applies to "why do.any mitzvah" so I would still recommend it.
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Post  Wed, Apr 10 2019, 2:31 pm
The technical answer: The Torah explicitly states that chametz is forbidden on Pesach. Three times, so it is serious. On punishment of karet!

What is chametz? Grain (one of the 5 species) in contact with water for more than 18 minutes before being completely baked. That's it. You cannot eat bread, noodles, pizza, cake, and so on. All of that takes more than 18 minutes. You could eat lots of things that are not certified kosher for Pesach. But with today's industrialized food production, it is difficult to ensure that no grain is processed on the same lines. For illustration check how many products contain "traces of gluten". (And possibly because companies want to make more money)

Why is there klp "pizza" that rises and so on? Because with today's technology, we can make all sorts of things. Only some grains (the forbidden ones) start a chemical process that makes dough rise. But we can now use technology to get the same effect with other grains. Or we can use matza meal and yeast. Yeast is what makes the dough rise. But yeast itself is not chametz (was only discovered in themid 19th century). Baking powder, imitation of yeast, is not chametz. Technically, everything is fine with eating all that. It is not chametz by the technical definition.
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Post  Wed, Apr 10 2019, 7:06 pm
Soooo helpful. The student is in 12th grade and I feel is really sesrching for a connection with her heart while her mind is looking at the black and white. Your answers are great and now I can tease out ehat will eork for her. Thanks!!!
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