Bread is a concept that is unique to humanity. I learned more about bread in a spiritual context in a television program by Rabbi Daniel Lapin called Ancient Jewish Wisdom on the TCT channel. Think about it – animals do not grow grain, harvest and mill the grain, grow yeast cultures, press plants for oil, and prepare dough into loaves of bread.
Rabbi Lapin pointed out that bread is first mentioned in the Bible in the same sentence as the so-called ‘curse’ of humanity in Genesis 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread , till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.” He also points out that making bread represent two important qualities in humanity, namely cooperation and delayed gratification. Making bread often requires trade and division of labor. All the processes involved in preparing the ingredients all represent long periods of time as well.
Rabbi Lapin and his wife Susan observed that bread is always presented at every formal meal. For example a loaf of bread or rolls often come to the table before anything else at a formal restaurant. A formal kind of meal would not be complete without it.
It is interesting to think about bread as we enter the season of passover, with the important symbols of unleavened bread and wine. Unleaved bread represents Jesus’ holy flesh and wine represents his pure blood that were both given in sacrifice for us.