In Praise of Chametz – Part 2: The Rabbinical Origins

In Praise of Chametz – Part 2: The Rabbinical Origins

As the Jewish calendar turns toward Pesach and we contemplate the story of Exodus, we also might wonder about the strong role of food in the story of this holiday – in particular, the categories and directives it provides for bread and other grains. These crops are often considered central to the current human way of living. What did they mean to us at that time, and how do they make us who we are now?

In part 1 of this presentation, Dr. Jerrold Davis discussed the ancient genetic relationships between the grains we consume today, whether kosher for Passover or not. In this response to his presentation, Rabbi Rachel Safman delves into the history of how the category came to exist in the first place.

(This post is part of Sinai and Synapses’ project Scientists in Synagogues, a grass-roots program to offer Jews opportunities to explore the most interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. Rabbi Rachel Safman is Rabbi at Temple Beth El in Ithaca, NY, and Jerrold Davis is Emeritus Professor of Plant Biology at Cornell University).

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