Unplug Challenge

Eat bread.

  • Jed

    Bread is the only food I can think of that has to rest. To make bread, resting is essential to allow fermentation to create gases that get trapped in the gluten structure and make the bread rise. Kneading — as we all know from the no-knead bread trend — is optional; resting is essential. Day of rest = day of bread.

  • Marga

    Jed, as a poet and student of metaphor, I want you to know I really liked your image of bread needing to rest, like we do.

  • ejbrief

    I would have to say that out of all these principles, eating bread is probably the weakest or perhaps most vague. Although I enjoy Jed's metaphor, I don't think eating bread is very special. We all eat bread all the time. It doesn't take us someplace special like wine (even in very small amounts) does. Bread, particularly challah, is something that is making Jews all over the world less healthy on the Sabbath. It is abused, and it should not be meant to be a staple in a meal or diet. Bread-making, like wine-making is a “magical” process in which something is laid to rest (fermentation) and then when it wakes up it is transformed into something with different properties and tastes. This is how we should understand bread: as a metaphor for the self on the Sabbath.

    Grape juice and dough do not however spontaneously ferment with favorable results. They need to be placed under the right conditions for the right amount of time in order to get satisfactory results.

    One of the key purposes of the Sabbath is to take a step back from our lives and the normal details of the way in which we live in order to leave the world of space and live seamlessly in the world of time (Thanks AJ Heschel). Through this process we examine and evaluate ourselves. Ideally, this time allows us the insight to make changes, ferment and transform ourselves in a way that would not be possible without the Sabbath.

    I propose a new principle in place of the bread principle that is more clear. Free yourself from the ways in which we interact with time and space: Step outside your normal realm of space and time.

    Suggestions: Dont wear a watch, go think in a new place, eat meals at different times than usual, try new foods and attempt to have new and stimulating experiences.

  • siguy

    I think there is something different about the bread we eat on Shabbat than the bread you suggest we eat 'all the time'. How often during the week so we eat bread for bread's sake (not as a sandwich or supplement) and do it at a table with friends and love ones? The 'resting' bread is an the allusion to the temple and an opportunity for us to create a new, distributed (temple v our home) space to gather together and enjoy creation. Bread is an essential part of all that, and better in moderation.

  • Caryl Brief

    I have read both Eric and Simon's comments, and they have excellent explainations and opinions about eating or not eating bread (Challah) on the Sabbath.
    What impresses me most is that both brothers have such special and emotional connections to the Sabbath day.

  • http://www.thecurvycoach.com/ Kimmoy

    I imagine that eating bread actually refers to studying God's Word. In the Bible it says we shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the Lord's mouth…and we can find what He says in his Word. So take time on the Sabbath to unplug from all the distractions and read the Bible 🙂

  • Caryl Brief

    I have read both Eric and Simon's comments, and they have excellent explainations and opinions about eating or not eating bread (Challah) on the Sabbath.
    What impresses me most is that both brothers have such special and emotional connections to the Sabbath day.

  • Steve

    I would prefer the more universal “share a meal” to “eat bread” and “drink wine” even though I understand their Jewish (and Christian) connotations.

  • JTabes

    It's not about eating bread though…it's about breaking bread. The Sabbath meal is meant to be shared in community, not eaten by the glare of the television screen or hunched over in the passenger seat of a minivan like all too many weekday meals. When we sit together and break bread our eating becomes intentional; the table fellowship created is no less spiritual a community than that which meets in any synagogue.

  • barry goodlife

    Bread is a staple and commonplace–today.

    But even more than say, roasted meat, the process of moving from raw grain to a loaf of even the simplest yeasted bread is a technical marvel. The next time you bite into that panini, or bagel, or chiapatta, think of all those steps and all the individuals involved in getting that loaf to your table.

    Eating bread, especially on the Sabbath, when we have time to think about meaning, should instill in all of us (a) a sense of gratitude to all those who made that product possible as well as (b) thanks to a Higher Power for enabling us to regularly enjoy something more than a simple bag of oats or “mere” vegetables.
    Especially on the Sabbath, we are reminded that we are not just another creature in this world, but that as sentient beings–capable of turning grain into bread–we are expected to use our intelligence to advance our relations with our companions, a word by the way, that comes from the French (Latin?) for 'with bread', i.e., someone with whom we share our meal.

  • http://twitter.com/ohjefframos Jeff Ramos

    This should really just be about enjoying a meal. No TV, no laptop, no headphones. Just sitting down and truly savoring a warm meal. It's something that most of the world doesn't get to enjoy, yet we overlook that since we're so busy.

    Doing it seems like a “time waster” but it truly does feel good sometimes to cook a fresh meal and enjoy it, unencumbered.

  • http://biketoworkbarb.blogspot.com/ Barb Chamberlain

    I read this also as a metaphor for simplicity: bread alone, not bread-as-carrier for other things that override its flavors, some of them not that good for us.

    The weekend is when I have time to bake bread for my family. I knead it by hand, which is its own form of meditation, especially when compared with throwing ingredients into a machine and flipping a switch. It takes hours to go from flour, yeast, salt and water to food; there is no instant gratification.

    Homemade bread straight out of the oven is another food altogether from the nothingness of store bread full of fillers and high fructose corn syrup. Eaten with honey from a local beekeeper I met at the farmers' market, it is a reason to stop and give thanks.

  • Joan Stuchner

    On Shabbat we are usually eating a very special bread, and if we can’t get challah we can spiritually transform the bread we are able to find into something special. And I don’t mean transubstantiation! Remember the legend that whatever you eat on Shabbat tastes better, because Shabbat is the secret ingredient? And with the bread there is special ceremony.

  • Renewlife

    Have no earthly idea what this is doing here…unless being symbolic…why have a symbolic Sabbath?

  • Foodslut

    I note bread and wine are on the list – why not cheese, the other foodstuff that takes something basic (milk) and, through time and man’s intervention, kicks it up a notch?

  • Foodslut

    Bang on!

  • Ashjay

     bread is a miracle. We should sometimes remember that even though we eat it every day.

  • Connie

    if only i wasn’t a celiac!

  • Eric415

     Actually, any fermented food must rest: pickles, sauerkraut, wine, beer, etc.  It rests while the fermentation takes place.

  • GMAN

    I like the manifesto but cant get into #8- Eat bread?  I dont see the connection.  I have been avoiding bread for the last 2 years, find I dont really need it and generally feel way better when I avoid it.

  • ohreindear

    I say fine, as long as it is gluten-free. An undiagnosed gluten sensitivity cut my potential 50% over the years.

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