Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Does anyone know why there was such a big deal made about bread being made without yeast? All of the other rules (unclean, no blemish, etc... I can somewhat understand as they may be health related issues, but the yeast?).


JWD said...

I have some vague memory in mind that may or may not be accurate. And it has something to do with the parable about yeast (see Luke 13:20 and Matthew 13:33).

I remember learning somewhere along the way that yeast was considered to be something of a contaminant. You know, yeast is a living thing. And it also has quite a smell to it! So one of the interpretations of these bread parables is that God's kingdom is compared to a contaminant--it takes only a small amount to completely change something much larger than itself.

Was unleavened bread always required though? Or just at the passover? Because there it seems to have very practical reasons: the Hebrews couldn't go at a moment's notice if they had to wait around for the bread to rise.t

As happens a lot with ritual practices, something will start for a very practical, functional reason. Then over time the practice takes on all kinds of meanings: so for instance in a Greek Orthodox service we incense the altar when the elements for communion are there. This practice started because it was really important to keep flies away from the elements! Over time it got layered with meaning--that it was the presence of angels or something. This could be the case with the prohibition on leavened bread--it may have started for a practical reason then acquired meanings over time.

I'm not sure if I'm right about this stuff on yeast. Just trolling my memory here. :)

see-through faith said...

interesting about the insence and the flies :)

unleavened bread was used at the passover because there wasn't time to wait for the bread to rise!

I wonder if not using yeast (at other times) has something to do with NOT creating on the sabbath. i.e. it really being a day of rest. But I'm not sure.

I think the sabbath eve had yeasty bread though.

interesting queston cyen! interesting!

cyen said...

Thanks for the input. I decided to do a little more diggin on the web to see what I could find. nutshell: not much. But I could see this as possibly also being a health issue. You may not wish to know about yeast (it's kinda yucky)...
It's a fungus! It occurs naturally in fruit (grapes in particular), but is also in water, soil, etc... it's pretty much everywhere. So maybe this was a way to say no "moldy" bread, or that the bread without yeast (crackers?) would also last longer than bread with yeast?
I also found some interesting info about yeast that says that "live yeast" can be detrimental in humans, in that it "eats" all the nutrients (since it lives in our intestines). BUT that "dead yeast" can be very good for us (some people take it as a vitamin) because it is full of all those nutrients that we can then absorb when it's dead. (ewww)
To learn more about yeast go to good ol' wikipedia...