The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What Did The Israelites Eat?

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abrogard's picture
abrogard

What Did The Israelites Eat?

 


 I vaguely remember from the Old Testament that the Israelites on their wanderings, I think, were constrained by their god to throw out their bread at the end of each week. Eat unleaved bread and start again building up a 'leavened' bread from wild yeasts, presumably, during the next week, only to have to throw that out again and start afresh.


 Does anyone know if that's right?


 And if it is then what kind of bread would they have been making? Would there be an appreciable difference in leavening in the course of one week?


Would there be any health aspect to this constraint that we're aware of nowadays?


 


 

Chavi's picture
Chavi

As an Orthodox Jew somewhat familiar with that time period, I've never heard of that. The only time I can with certainty say that leaven is forbidden is Passover because their [naturally leavened] bread didnt have time to rise. So in our times, I have to get rid of my sourdough starter in time for Pesach, because that is exactly what the Torah prohibits.


I should add that while the Jews were wandering the forty days in the desert, they didnt plant or grow wheat, instead they merited the manna, so there was no need for baking bread. With regards to the manna, they had to collect it every day a new and were not allowed to store and save it in advance from day to day. Falling manna stopped once they entered Israel.


However, it is true that in the days when the Temple stood and sacrifices were being brought, naturally leavened breads were forbidden to be brought on the altar.


Hope that helps,


Chavi

Elagins's picture
Elagins

Manna didn't fall on the Sabbath, so God provided a double portion on Fridays, which is why, according to some interpretations, there are two loaves of challah on the Friday night Sabbath table.


Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

Chavi's picture
Chavi

Thanks for the addition-- You are correct on both counts.


Shabbat Shalom!

flournwater's picture
flournwater
copyu's picture
copyu

Exodus 12:14-20 (Maybe—Exodus23:5)


Leviticus 6:14-23


I read MANY years ago that the Israelites, [or, more likely, 'Medieval' Jews] were also required to clean their homes at the Jewish new year, and to ascertain that "not a crust or crumb of [leavened?] bread" remain in their homes, under or behind furniture, or in the corner of their pantries or other storage spaces.


Is there any authority for this? I might have read it in a novel, or perhaps it was a more 'academic' discussion of the Talmud...


I have no personal or religious interest, but I'd still like to know if this is correct.


Every culture I've ever heard of, read of, or lived in, has a "spring-time" or "new-year" cleaning ritual. [Spring and New Year were almost certainly the same thing, in every culture, once upon a time...]  


Shabbat Shalom!


 


 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

or "searching for leavened bread," and it's a ritual that, according to Jewish law, takes place on the night before Passover, to ensure that the home is ritually pure and uncontaminated by prohibited foodstuffs. according to custom the leaven needs to be swept onto paper using a feather and a candle needs to be used to search in corners, crevices and under furniture. when all the leaven is gathered, it's customarily burned, along with the paper and feather.


an alternative custom involves the temporary sale of leavened bread to a non-Jew, which is then bought back after the Passover prohibition has ended. over the centuries, a very complex body of law governing the sale of leaven evolved, including contract language that provides strong indications of why Jews have such a strong affinity for law as a

profession.


the custom you may be thinking of is called Tashlich, and it takes place on the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. the custom involves "casting bread upon the waters" as a proxy for casting away one's sins at the start of the 10-day period called the "Days of Awe" between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when all Jews are enjoined to contemplate their deeds of the year past and to consider how they want to live during the coming year. no ritual housecleaning is involved, however.


Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

abrogard's picture
abrogard

 


 


 


 Aaah... never heard of it. So maybe I've misremembered. It was a very long time ago I got this idea and nowadays I don't even have a bible in the house or the computer.


I'll get one and see if I can find the reference. It's pretty obvious I've made at least one mistake - I thought they wandered for 40 years!  40 days is hardly long enough to warrant weekly prohibitions on bread making even if they did make bread which, of course, as pointed out, they didn't.


I don't fancy the idea of sweeping the house with a feather...  !


 


Thanks for the input, guys.


:)


 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

40 days is a vacation.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Traditionally (it's changing, thank goodness!) the women of the family spent a lot of time and effort cleaning the house top to bottom (using ordinary housecleaning tools) and then the husband would take the children around with the candle and the feather and find a few crumbs left behind for their symbolic significance. 


And yes, all these rituals are Talmudic in origin, not biblical.  I always envision the talmudic sages as a bunch of old guys sitting around with waaaaay too much time on their hands.  (No flames, please.  I'm joking!). 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

too much schnapps ... it still happens in the very orthodox synagogues ... the arguments (encouraged, by the way) are endless.


Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

http://www.hulu.com/watch/99895/family-guy-family-goy#s-p1-so-i0


watch the whole show


i love the last three lines

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Unfortunately not available for those of us outside your boarders, Norm.  Not yet...


Mini

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

did not know that!


 

mcs's picture
mcs

This should allow you to view videos outside of the US if you're using firefox.


https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2464