[b-hebrew] Hos 6:4 (was The Pesach prohibition )

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sun Sep 24 23:29:47 EDT 2006

No he doesn't


Hosea likens oven or baker to adulterer. The connotation is negative.
Therefore, the translation "the baker need not watch the dough" is wrong.
Hosea criticizes the baker.
Good baker watches the dough (leavened with sodium or bacteria) while it
rises in oven. Theoretically, humtazto could mean "risen" rather than
Rising of leavened dough, however, is active process, while humtzato is
passive. The dough rises actively, but is baked passively, by external
action of heating. Passive humtzato could only mean "baked."

Also consider hmtz in other contexts.
Ps71:4 hometz has nothing to do with leaven, but violent. The meaning
"violent" fully realizes the root cell meaning hm-mtz, hot-press.
Num6:3-4 is meaningfully translated, "He shall abstain from wine and beer;
strong [agitating, violent] wine and strong beer he shall not drink."
Reading of hmtz as "baked" makes sense of Lev7:12-13: baked bread is
sacrificed without oil (it is soft, and will absorb oil and break), but
sun-roasted matzot are sacrificed with oil (they are hard, and not permeated
by oil).

Baked bread is usually leavened, thus the meaning of hametz expanded from
"baked" to "leavened." The practical difference is, however, significant:
even unleavened bread should be sun-roasted, not baked during the Pesach.
That corresponds to the Exodus account.
In Ex12:39, the Hebrews a'f the dough. Etymologically, we expect af to be
close to esh, fire. Indeed, "roast" correctly reflects the meaning. In
1Sam28:24, the woman was in hurry to prepare bread for Saul, and could not
bake it, thus tofehu - roasted it. The difference seems to be between
roasting on coals and baking in pre-heated oven. On the run, the Hebrews
obviously roasted the dough on coals.

Vadim Cherny

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