Several months ago, around the time of the second feast of the year (Pentecost or Shavuot), I had a notion to try my hand at creating and sustaining a sourdough starter.

A sourdough starter is nothing more than ground or milled grain (flour) and water. The flour and water is mixed and then left out and left alone (except for feeding which we will get to in a moment) to mature for several days in a container. Over time, the mixture that inhabits small bacteria… some good and some bad will begin to show visual signs of life. These bacteria live in and on the grain naturally and by leaving them alone in the water they will begin to feed on the carbohydrate in the grain and produce gasses from the digestion. With time, air bubbles will be seen and an aroma will be detected.

This project was much harder than it sounds. It took me several weeks and several tries with new batches to get this thing going. I almost reached the point of throwing my hands up and saying, “just forget it!” but I persevered. I also thought I was doing this for the taste of sourdough. We no longer buy bread, crackers, cookies, muffins, or any bread product from the store. I make them all here at home – homemade so that we know all the ingredients. What I have come to appreciate is that in addition to wonderful tasting bread… my sourdough starter is also my natural yeast for getting my bread to rise. I never knew that either! But now I do.

I also learned something FAR more important as well which I will share in a moment.

After several batches of the “store-bought” flour failed… I decided to mill the kamut wheat I had grown specifically for the feast of shavuot. I did not have enough to make the two loaves of bread for the feast, I just had a nice full hand- full of the kamut wheat berries. I was torn about destroying them by milling them, but read about how good starters actually come, not from the yeast floating around in the air like everyone says… but from the natural bacteria both on and in the grown grain berries that are “on” the grain. So I thought if any grain will have the bacteria I needed to get this thing going… it is my kamut wheat that I grew out in the back yard. So I milled it. I mixed it with some distilled water and went to work.

Low and behold… it worked! The little bit of dough began to smell nice and fruity. I carefully measured and weighed out the flour and water mixture I fed it with each and every 8 hours and truly did my very best to be successful. And guess what? The sourdough starter is still going today after 4 months. I have baked dozens of beautiful and great tasting loaves of all kinds of bread and there is never any doubt or problem with having the loaf rise… perfectly!

Now… why am I sharing this on this blog that is about walking with our Creator and King?

I am being taught a language. A language not of words but of actions. The understanding comes through the doing for this language. Why do you think God gives us instructions? Some people, many people, call His instructions “commandments” I guess it depends on how a person sees them. I see them as instructions: instructions for life. As I do what is spoken of in His Word, I am blessed with learning the language. It is not truly a language that can be written down with letters and words.

Anyway, one morning… actually the morning of Shavuot I believe it was… as I was doing a morning feeding of the sourdough starter I finally had going with the kamut wheat from my garden, I SAW SOMETHING IN WHAT I WAS DOING.

Each time I fed the starter with more water and more flour, I first had to remove some of the starter that was in the container. This is how a starter is fed:

The existing lump is gently stirred down a bit.

All but about 1/4 of a cup is removed from it and thrown away.

Then more water and more flour is added and stirred in.

This is left for 8-12 hours to begin the process again.

I suddenly realized I was “adding to and taking from” the original measure of milled wheat. Each time I did this, I was removing more of the true, initial wheat and adding flour from a different, outside source to keep it going.

When the simple yet beautiful truth of this hit me, I began to cry. I suddenly realized “why” I was doing this sourdough starter, what the purpose was for it, and how it came to me. My Father had something to teach me, in a way I would never, ever, ever forget. I had read the words a thousand times, but now… now I truly “saw with understanding”

And now, O Yisra’el, listen to the laws and the right-rulings which I am teaching you to do, so that you live, and shall go in and possess the land which YaHUaH Alohim of your fathers is giving you.

Do not add to the Word which I command you, and do not take away from it, so as to guard the commands of YaHUaH your Alohim which I am commanding you. Deuteronomy (Debraim) 4:1-2

Every Word of Eloah is tried; He is a shield to those taking refuge in Him.

Do not add to His Word, Lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.

Two I have asked of You – Deny them not to me before I die: Remove falsehood and a lying word far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me my portion of bread; lest I become satisfied and deny, and say, “Who is YaHUaH?” and lest I be poor, and steal, and seize the Name of my Elohim. Proverbs (Mishle) 30:5-9

I have been working on understanding the instructions for the Feast of Unleavened Bread for a very long time. Not the understanding we are given from teachers, Rabbis, and others… but the true meaning. It is becoming clearer to me and I hope to be able to share what I am learning very soon. It is difficult to put into words. Take care for the words you eat from others and digest. Take care for what you say and teach others so that we don’t become the “added” flour from an outside source that is not our Master alone. We are to be the pure lump from His Seed, His kernel of wheat, without words of instruction that has turned us aside to the right or to the left. Each time the Feast of Unleavened bread comes around again, we have a new opportunity to begin again. Remove all the extra teachings of the foreign flour we have taken in throughout the previous year. Start again, with a new lump. The true matzah that is the true mitzvah. So you see it?

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