Monday, June 25, 2007

Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal

So I recently saw the following cereal in someone's pantry (actually, a slightly different box - original, rather than Golden Flax, so I don't know about the kashrut of the cereal depicted to the right).

From Food for Life, it is Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal! As they say,

"As described in the Holy Scriptures: 'Take also unto thee Wheat and Barley and Beans and Lentils and Millet and Spelt and put them in one vessel and make bread of it...' Ezekiel 4:9"

I saw this and could not believe it, because of the negative connotations in the context of the verse. Sure, one can try to cast it as God giving instructions to his prophet for a healthy diet. But, the connotation is that they prepare their cereal making use of either human or bull excrement! The verses in question:
ח וְהִנֵּה נָתַתִּי עָלֶיךָ, עֲבוֹתִים; וְלֹא-תֵהָפֵךְ מִצִּדְּךָ אֶל-צִדֶּךָ, עַד-כַּלּוֹתְךָ יְמֵי מְצוּרֶךָ. 8 And, behold, I lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast accomplished the days of thy siege.
ט וְאַתָּה קַח-לְךָ חִטִּין וּשְׂעֹרִים וּפוֹל וַעֲדָשִׁים וְדֹחַן וְכֻסְּמִים, וְנָתַתָּה אוֹתָם בִּכְלִי אֶחָד, וְעָשִׂיתָ אוֹתָם לְךָ, לְלָחֶם: מִסְפַּר הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה שׁוֹכֵב עַל-צִדְּךָ, שְׁלֹשׁ-מֵאוֹת וְתִשְׁעִים יוֹם--תֹּאכְלֶנּוּ. 9 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, even three hundred and ninety days, shalt thou eat thereof.
י וּמַאֲכָלְךָ, אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכְלֶנּוּ--בְּמִשְׁקוֹל, עֶשְׂרִים שֶׁקֶל לַיּוֹם: מֵעֵת עַד-עֵת, תֹּאכְלֶנּוּ. 10 And thy food which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time to time shalt thou eat it.
יא וּמַיִם בִּמְשׂוּרָה תִשְׁתֶּה, שִׁשִּׁית הַהִין: מֵעֵת עַד-עֵת, תִּשְׁתֶּה. 11 Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of a hin; from time to time shalt thou drink.
יב וְעֻגַת שְׂעֹרִים, תֹּאכְלֶנָּה; וְהִיא, בְּגֶלְלֵי צֵאַת הָאָדָם--תְּעֻגֶנָה, לְעֵינֵיהֶם. {ס} 12 And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it in their sight with dung that cometh out of man.' {S}
Yechezkel {Ezekiel} protests that he does not want to become polluted, and so Hashem tells him, "OK, use bull dung instead."

יד וָאֹמַר, אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנָי ה, הִנֵּה נַפְשִׁי, לֹא מְטֻמָּאָה; וּנְבֵלָה וּטְרֵפָה לֹא-אָכַלְתִּי מִנְּעוּרַי וְעַד-עַתָּה, וְלֹא-בָא בְּפִי בְּשַׂר פִּגּוּל. {ס} 14 Then said I: 'Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted; for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn of beasts; neither came there abhorred flesh into my mouth.' {S}
טו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי--רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לְךָ אֶת-צפועי (צְפִיעֵי) הַבָּקָר, תַּחַת גֶּלְלֵי הָאָדָם; וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת-לַחְמְךָ, עֲלֵיהֶם. {} 15 Then He said unto me: 'See, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread thereon.' {S}
On the other hand, this particular cereal (Flax) depicted above is indeed a laxative, so it might have some appropriate connotations.

Also, this was not being depicted as ideal bread, just as it was not ideal to bake the bread over human or cow excrement. The idea was to convey a message about the coming famine, but otherwise they would not have eaten such a multi-grain bread. This is apparent from context, but we also have Rashi as well:
wheat and barley, etc., and millet and spelt paniz et epeltre in Old French, millet and spelt. A sign of the famine that will be upon them in the days of the siege, and they will eat a bread of mixed [grains] while nauseated.
It is possible they do not imagine most customers will be aware of the context. Many Jewish people I mentioned this to were unaware of this, but perhaps Christians are more aware, reading it in English. Or maybe not.

At any rate, heh.

Oh, and while I am at it, let me boost my Jewish blog aggregator,


Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

LOL yeah i saw that Ezekiel Bread stuff a while ago, they have a few different products based on the recipe. i thought it was just sort of frummy-tacky, until i actually looked up the פסוקים

J. P. van de Giessen said...

I don't think there is any difference between Jews and Christians about this.
Some time ago I read about this recipe in a Biblical Cooking Book (written by a Evangelical Christian), where it is presented as "normal bread which the Persian people ate". But I couldn't find any scientific proof about this.
Further I once baked such bread (in a normal furnace) for some study about this subject and its taste is awful.

joshwaxman said...


the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

heh. I don't think it is still around, but when I was in college, there was a brand of vitamin-enriched orange juice with the text of John 3:16 on the label. Actual Juice for Jesus!

haKiruv said...

This is hilarious. I've seen this cereal at my local organic store. I've also seen plain matzah sell as "Bible Bread" going for $9 for a couple wafers.


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