• M.P. Geulah

The Healing Power of Bread According to the famous Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar



In his Commentary on Bereshis (Genesis) 18:4, the Or Hachaim, Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar, explains "Bread Symbolizes the Depths (Pnimiut) of the Torah... Bread Nourishes the Body and Soul." If prepared correctly, bread has the potential to be FOOD FOR THE SOUL. In this commentary, the Or Hachaim expounds upon the hidden properties of water and bread: water symbolizes the pshat (simple meaning) of the Torah and Bread symbolizes the depths (pnimiut) of the Torah. In the following verse, the Or Hachaim asks why did Abraham invite the angels to dine with him? Angels don't need to eat! The Or Hachaim answers that food has spiritual secrets. As it says in Proverbs 18:25 "The righteous eat to satisfy their souls." To satisfy the soul means to enhance the Ruchniut- the spiritual side of a person. Specific foods have the ability to nourish the soul.

The Talmud's View on Bread

In Tractate Baba Metzia (page 107 side 2) it discusses the verse "V'haser Hashem mimcha kol choli" Translation: "And Hashem (G-d) will remove from you all disease". Here the Gemara talks about illnesses. There are 83 diseases the root of which is a disease called Mara, a disease which starts in the digestive system and spreads to the rest of the body. The Gemara goes on to say "Pat Shacharit B'melach, v'kiton shel mayim, mevatlim". These 83 ailments are cured by simply eating Pat Shacharit, which is (proper) bread with salt in the morning and a jug of water. The Gemara continues to discuss the healing properties of bread: "13 attributes were said about Pat Shacharit (Morning Bread): it heals you from chama (diseases of heat), from tzina (diseases of cold), protects you from zikim, from mezikim, machkimat petti (makes you smart), zoche b'din, helps you to study Torah, helps you to teach Torah, people will listen to your teachings, you won't forget your learning, you won't get fat, its good for libido, kills worms/ parasites in the intestines, and some people say it removes jealousy and increases love (Rashi explains: when your body feels good then you won't be as angry or irritable, therefore, it increases love). At the time of the Gemara the Rabbi's considered bread to be a healing food, not just physically healing but also spiritually healing. All of the bread at the time of the Gemara was STONE GROUND BREAD. In fact, it was a custom for a father to give his daughter a stone grinder (Rechaim) as dowry. A high quality stone grinder was of tremendous importance to a family home.

Stone Grinders were also mentioned in Parshat Devarim. They were of such importance that the Torah prohibits a lender from taking Stone Grinders as a security on a loan. As quoted "One shall not take the lower or the upper millstone as security (for a loan) because he is taking a life as security" (Deuteronomy Chapter 24:6)

At Food is Medicine our bread is made as it was in the times of the Talmud: Stone Ground. Our bread is made with Stone Ground Flour that we stone grind fresh daily for optimum vitamin and enzyme content. Sugar Free (sweetened with Maple Syrup). We also have Stone Ground Challah for Shabbat!


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