“This bread is the body of the cosmos.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh
1. This is the story of how our bread came to be. Barukh.
2. In order for this bread to come into existence, a Source must first have pushed the “big red button” to activate the bang that turned the tohu-va-bohu, the formless void, into the canvas of creation. Atah.
3. In order for this bread to be here, a particular group of particles, hydrogen, and helium had to be put into the cosmic blender, coalescing with a gravitational force, until this planet was produced. Adonai.
4. In order for this bread to be included in our bounty, approximately 175 million years ago, the planet’s tectonic plates had to anxiously shift, stretch and yawn, and as they awoke, schism the land mass and distribute continents across the face of the planet like confetti. Eloheinu.
5. In order for this bread to be on this table, on the face of this land, the topography of the land, the climate, and the earthly materials of bedrock, sand, and clay had to collaborate to produce soil. This trail mix of nutrients becomes the stage to life. Ruakh.
6. In order for this bread to rest on our table, a particular human or a particular set of humans had to have become charged with the maintenance, protection, and co-creation of a particular geographic area of soil. Ha’olam.
7. In order for this bread to provide us with nourishment, a particular human needed to have acquired a kernel of wheat—a seedling of an entire universe. A particular human needed to trust that this particular kernel of wheat could thrive in this particular soil, and to lovingly tuck it beneath layers of rich sediment. Ha-motzi.
8. In order for this particular bread to become a focal point of our gathering, the seed must have taken root and developed into a stalk of wheat, tall and willowy, stretching toward the sun. This particular wheat needed to be collected, milled, separated, processed, and transformed to produce flour. Lekhem.
9. In order for this bread to be beneath this roof, the flour needed to be mixed with the eggs and the water and the salt, all materials containing their own cosmic journey. These materials must have been stirred diligently to produce dough that was braided, baked, and wrapped. Min.
10. In order for this particular piece of the universe to be before us, a particular mixture of natural elements, luck, circumstance, and maybe something beyond us needed to collide and collaborate. Perhaps this community, this dough of which we are all a part, has undergone the same blessed process. Ha-aretz.