Continuing the response to the meta call for contradiction.

In Exodus 34:25 we read this injunction:

You will not slaughter the blood of my altar on leavened bread ...

This injunction is repeated in Leviticus, Lev 2:11

All the comfort offering which you will sacrifice to Yahweh, you will not make of leavening. Because of all yeast and all honey, none will not be firy grilled for Yahweh.

Yet, in Leviticus 8:25, we find the following passage:

And he took the fat and the tail-fat and all the fat which is on the offal, and the extra on the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat, and the right thigh. And from the basket of crackers which is before Yahweh, he took one cracker-cake and one fat-bread loaf, and one cracker-bit, and he put on the fat and on the right thigh. And he placed the whole in Aaron's palms, and in his sons' palms, and he waved them as a wave-offer, before Yahweh. And Moses took that from their palms, and he grilled it on the altar over the raised offer. They were fulfillment, for a comfort smell, firy, it is for Yahweh. And Moses took the breast, and waved it a wave-offer before Yahweh, from the fulfillment ram. A portion was for Moses, as Yahweh commanded Moses.

Moses is grilling a fat-bread loaf (Heb: וְחַלַּת לֶחֶם שֶׁמֶן). This is taken from the bread offering permanently before the altar, and there is a detailed description of its content, and there is no doubt that this is leavened stuff that Moses is holding.

But Moses proceeds to grill it over the raised offer. Is Moses immune from following the unleavened commandment?


2 Answers 2


There are many ways to make “bread” that do not involve leavening but are still called lechem (לחם). The sort called matzoh (מצה) is made of flour & water kneaded into a thick dough and baked. The sorts called “oiled bread” and “wafer”, lechem shemen (לחם שמן) and rakik (רקיק), are made differently, but with no indication that they are leavened in any way. When leavened loaves are called for (in the thanksgiving offering, or on Shavuot) it is done explicitly.

The Talmud, as quoted by Rashi, described the “oiled bread” as being made with flour kneaded with scalding water, not leavened, baked and then fried in oil. This final product no longer looks like a matzoh loaf; presumably that’s why it is not called by that name.

  • Come on--- they explicitly describe the unleavened stuff as "matza", and this is a "loaf of bread". Is a "loaf of bread" somehow understood as an uncooked mixture of flour and oil? That would answer the question, but it's impossible. Do you have more textual evidence that this is the correct interpretation? The mincha offering describes cooking flour and oil, and this mixture is not described anywhere as a "loaf", and it is certainly not "bread". The "loafs" in the showbread basket are leavened bread. "lechem" means leavened bread. It doesn't mean flour. I can't believe this. No way.
    – Ron Maimon
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 4:11
  • 1
    @RonMaimon—Actually, לחם by itself just means “bread,” without indicating whether it is leavened. Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 2:54
  • @RonMaimon see TALMUD Pesachim 36b, 37a The Sages taught: One may not bake thick bread on the Festival, on Passover, as it might be leavened before it has a chance to bake; this is the statement of Beit Shammai. And Beit Hillel permit one to bake bread in this manner. The Gemara asks: And how much thickness is required for the matza to be considered thick bread? Rav Huna said: This category includes matza that is a handbreadth thick. The proof is as we found by the shewbread, which could not be leavened and which was a handbreadth thick. The law is according to Beis Hillel. Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 20:10

Moses grills unleavened bread not leavened bread on Yahweh's altar... Let me explain.

It's important to note that Leviticus 8:25 is about the consecration of Aaron and his sons. Fortunately the consecration of Aaron and his sons is also discussed in Exodus chapter 29.

In context concerning the consecration of Aaron and his sons we are told clearly in Exodus that everything presented and grilled was unleavened... not leavened.

Exodus 29 (KJV):

1 And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them (note: Aaron and his sons), to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish,

2 And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.

3 And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.

So if you reference Leviticus 8:25 with Exodus 29:1-3 it's clear that Moses didn't grill leavened bread on God's altar... he grilled unleavened bread according to the law.

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