Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What are the regulations concerning the passover ceremony and the use of yeast in bread? Is eating bread made without yeast significant and meant to represent anything in particular?

Does this restriction further imply removing anything fermented or corrupted and not partaking in these during passover (i.e. alcohol)?

share|improve this question
1  
Welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this question, which gets at the meaning behind one of Judaism's most widespread practices. –  Isaac Moses May 12 '11 at 2:38
    
@Isaac Moses, Glad to be here to learn, thanks for the edit. –  Aran Mulholland May 12 '11 at 2:45
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Chametz is prohibited to eat or own on Passover, and this includes any flour made of the five grains that has come into contact with water for enough time to halachically ferment, which is a period of at least 18 minutes.

Se'or, which is the heavily-leavened sourdough that was commonly used as a leavening agent, is also prohibitted to eat or own on Passover. The biological yeast that we use today for leavening bread is itself not prohibited, but may not be added to any flour mixtures, as it speed the fermentation process and is likely to become chametz. See here.

In general, fermented products such as alcoholic beverages are permitted on Passover so long as they are not made from the grains we are worried about. Alcohol is not prohibited on Passover. In fact, we are required to drink four cups of wine on the first night at the seder.

Practically speaking, one should only buy and consume products on Passover if they are marked with a legitimate Passover kashrut symbol.

In regard to why we eat unleavened bread, or matzah, on Passover, and what it represents, the mishna, cited famously by the haggada, explains that it symbolizes the haste in which the Jews left Egypt, so much so that they would not even wait for their bread to rise. Other symbolic reasons are given, such as it represents the deflation of the human ego, or that it represents complete freedom in its ultimate simplicity.

share|improve this answer
2  
Just throwing out there that the 5 grains spoken about in the answer are: Wheat, Rye and Spelt, as well as Two- and Six-row Barley, although common practice is to count the Barleys together and include Oats as the fifth. –  Double AA Mar 28 '12 at 21:53
add comment

Any food or drink that is made from one of the five grains (like wheat and barley) which is "machmitz" or begins the process of leavening, is forbidden on Passover. The Torah says that the when the Jews left Egypt, their bread didn't have time to rise. The matza, (unleavened bread), represents the haste of exodus. Commentators expand on this idea. Another idea discussed focuses on chametz. The leavening process is not necessary for nutritional value, but is done just for taste. The bread becomes all swollen up, which is compared to arrogance & the evil inclination. Also, bread was invented in Egypt, so this might have to do with it...

share|improve this answer
    
How do you know that bread was invented in Egypt? –  Adam Mosheh Apr 13 at 3:45
    
@AdamMosheh, See rationalistjudaism.com/2014/04/… and breadinfo.com/history.shtml –  Ariel K Apr 13 at 22:37
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.