It is written that bread is the staff of life. For centuries, it was at the heart of most meals. Poor or rich, no matter what you had alongside of it, bread was the staple. It sustained people and gave them life. So, it was in a literal sense the bread of life.
Over the decades, we have been tampering with how bread is made in the name of trying to “improve” it and to make it more readily available to those who do not want to make their own. The idea started to be sold to us that what was once a joyful part of feeding one’s family was now drudgery and something to be avoided. After all, we could now buy bread and, due to new innovations, it was probably no more expensive than making your own…and maybe even cheaper. And, of course, it was touted as “healthy”.
Thing is, we sacrificed some things for “cheaper” and “improved” and “giving up drudgery”. Of course, we did not know that at the time. It has taken decades to discover that this, along with many other “improvements” in our food that we foolishly have allowed to come along for the sake of “mass” production and the saving of time and effort, have actually cost us dearly.
We have not only lost our health, we have also lost a lot of mom and pop businesses as everything has become industrialized for big corporations. Gone, too, is the idea that working for one’s family in the home is a very worthy thing. Many of us have bought into the idea that taking care of a family and home, that cooking healthy meals and baking and gardening and canning to feed our families is somehow beneath us. We have bought into the marketing that tells us it is better to pay for these things than to do it ourselves.
So, what happens? Many people are out there doing jobs they may or may not even like so they can pay for something they could have been doing at home if we had not been sold that bill of goods. We have traded the satisfaction of accomplishment at home for our family and our dreams for helping others to accomplish their dreams. We have locked ourselves and our families in to schedules that sometimes hinder and hurt us and our families.
It was a good marketing ploy, though. Sell people on the idea that they need to buy things in order to be “fulfilled” and “in the modern age” and “free from drudgery”. In exchange for all that, they have to go outside the home and sell themselves to someone else (and, most of the time, into real drudgery) in order to buy these things. Instead of seeing real, long lasting accomplishments in the lives of our families, our accomplishments are short lived in someone else’s world.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that working outside the home is wrong. I am also not saying that pursuing your dream job is not a worthy goal. I just know that there are many women who have been asked what they really would prefer doing if given a choice. And many of them have said they would prefer to be home with their families, with their children, than working for someone else. At the very least, they wish they could at least work for someone else from within their homes.
I know I would rather be at home, having the freedom to pursue the dreams G-d has put into my heart. I would rather have some flexibility in my schedule than be locked into a certain number of hours working for someone else’s dream. More and more people are starting to work from home. Yet, some of them are still locked into the same number of hours, just a different location. For some, it is the same old thing, just in a different (and preferable) location.
Some are actually choosing their hours, not only in the when, but in the how many. They are choosing flexibility and more availability. So much of it boils down to “what do we really need to live” versus “what do we want”. Given a choice, I prefer to be at home baking my own healthier than store bought bread and taking care of my family and working toward my G-d-given dreams than having to throw something inferior together to feed my family because I am working for someone else’s dream. But then, maybe I am just “old-fashioned”.
But enough of that. I titled this post “The Bread of Life” for a reason and the above only leads up to the main reason. As I was thinking about bread and life, my thoughts turned to the idea that there is one bread that is even more the bread of life than standard meal bread. It is Shabbat bread.
Shabbat bread is eaten during a moed, a time appointed by our Creator to be with Him in a special way. Shabbat bread is, by its holy (set apart) nature, a bread of sweet fellowship. In fact, as a reminder, my Shabbat breads tend to be a little sweeter than a regular bread. They are also braided to symbolize the plural nature of our Creator and the intertwining of man and G-d in fellowship.
There are many ways to braid bread, but I am working on making a signature braid…one that is of my own creation. At first, I just wanted something unique to me. However, as I am writing this post, I have decided that I do want it to also symbolize what my relationship to G-d and to Shabbat means to me. I have ideas percolating in my head.
There is yet another Bread of Life, though! Yeshua, our Mashiach! Besides the obvious symbolism of the bread in communion, there is the fact that He declares Himself to be the Bread from heaven and the Bread that gives life. Yochanan (John) 6 is where He talks about this. So, bread (and especially Shabbat bread) is a wonderful picture of our Messiah!
Here are a couple of six strand breads. I was doing a smaller three on top of a larger three, but the top three would tend to slide to one side. So, I learned the six strand braid. It is a bit tricky, but for the most part, I get it. However, fitting them onto my pans sometimes gets a little interesting and it makes for some interesting and (sometimes rather squiggly) end results!