[b-hebrew] The Pesach prohibition - baked, not leavened bread

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Wed Sep 20 09:09:15 EDT 2006

The hametz prohibited on Pesach seems to mean baked bread. The idea of leavening is derivative because leaven was often added before baking.

The word hametz consists of root cells hm and mtz, hot and pressed. 
Confirms Hos7:4: bad baker doesn't watch the dough from kneading until it becomes hmtz in the hot oven. Dough is baked in the oven, not leavened.

Nazirite should abstain from hometz wine. Hometz, presumably, is something that makes something else hametz. Wine - unlike beer - was not used for leavening the bread. Like another word for wine, hmr (hm-mr, hot and rising), hmtz here means "hot and pressing", and refers to agitating effect of wine. That makes sense of the prohibition. 
Hometz similarly means "violent" in Ps71:4, certainly not "leavened."
The difference between Lev7:12 and 7:13 is now clear: halot matzot (pressed cakes) could be oiled, but halot lehem hametz (baked bread) are soft and break when oiled. 

Reading hametz as "baked" correlates with the tradition. Hebrews in Egypt prepared the last bread at least as usual, more probably - as festive bread to accompany the meat sacrifice. They had no reason to prepare the dough without leaven. They left in haste, and didn't have time to bake the bread. They ate the  pressed sun-dried cakes, a normal food even now in traditional Egyptian villages.

Please share your opinions about that suggestion. You can read it in more details at http://vadimcherny.org/judaism/custom_pesach.htm

Vadim Cherny

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