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Has a meaning of Passover been lost?

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Has religion caused us to lose sight of a deeper meaning in Passover?

With such an emphasis on food types, it would be hard to ignore their medicinal values. And is it not possible that the festival originally was prescribed for health reasons.

Has a Descartian ‘I think therefore I am’ overtaken original religion. Or a ‘I am sentimental and nostalgic’ therefore I am.

We are what we eat is a cliche, yet a true one.

Not only does Ayurveda (The Indian health system as old as the Bible) divide foods into tastes, it also prescribes certain tastes for certain ailments.

Ayurveda has six tastes

  1. Sweet
  2. Sour
  3. Salty
  4. Pungent
  5. Bitter
  6. Astringent

That is the order that the body absorbs the tastes in and the order in which they should be eaten. And at an Indian restaurant a meal called a ‘Thali’ generally has all six tastes.

Sour includes all things fermented (eg Yogurt, Vinegar, Alcohol).

Everyone knows Yom Kippur is a fasting to atone for the previous years sins. Yet they will also recognise that it is healthy for the body. Also the Muslims fast during Ramadan. Catholics in Lent.

Why not the same for Passover? There are so many yeast related illnesses, Candida is perhaps best known. A Google search for ‘yeast health’ gets over 10,000,000 results.

To starve the body of fermentation (Chametz) for 7 days is healthy. There was traditionally a lamb sacrificed for eating during the Passover holiday, but it was forbidden to eat any of it after the evening it was cooked (presumably because it would ferment).

Bitter herbs (Maror) are required to be taken. There are so many cancer cures related to bitter herbs, it shows their health value. BTW most herbs are bitter. But it seems now Maror is mostly horseradish, romaine lettuce, or green onions.

Karpas is one of the traditional rituals in the Passover Seder. It refers to the vegetable, usually parsley or celery, that is dipped in liquid (usually salt water) and eaten.

Finally there is the wine or grape juice that is to be taken. I don’t know the original texts or why wine would be allowed because it is fermented, but grape juice would make sense, and there are many famous cancer cures related to a diet of grape juice.

Perhaps through the centuries due to sentimentality or Rabbis wishing to keep the community together wine was introduced. Anyway google searching says:

The only yeast that is forbidden by the Torah on Pesach is yeast that is produced from one of the five grains – wheat, barley, spelt, oats or rye. Yeast from grapes is not forbidden.
There is a custom (not a Torah law) to refrain from corn, rice, beans etc because the flour made from them can be easily confused for wheat flour. This is not the case with wine yeast.

It would seem that yogurt and vinegar are also used on Passover, both are fermented.

There is so little remaining about health from the Bible. I have read there were suggestions that operations were carried out in Biblical times but no record of how they were done. Certainly they were familiar with use of a splint.

Moses had some medical knowledge:

The First Antiseptic

Hyssop oil was charged by God to Moses to be used as a purifying agent. Hyssop oil has been shown to contain 50% antifungal and antibacterial agents (Numbers 19:18, Psalm 51:7).


Presumably it was Moses who ordained that unleavened bread should be used, yet unleavened bread was commonly used for transporting anyway.

Telling people how to eat gets their backs up, maybe the early rabbis gave up trying.

There are even rabbinical teachings regarding how to maintain the value of chametz (forbiden foods) during the holiday, a Rabbi is allowed to purchase it for the duration of the holiday, and then to sell it back to the observant family.

Written by morris

April 13, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Jews, judaism, Passover

Tagged with ,

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