Dear Refiner's Fire...

I have a strange question: I recently purchased several containers of both barley green powder as well as wheatgrass powder to be used as a mix w/water. My husband is having liver problems so we have him eating mostly raw foods as well as these powder mixes (an alternative to juicing green vegetables) they're fairly expensive and I am realizing that barley and wheat are forbidden during passover. Is there anything I can do other than throw them out?

Shalom, Marilyn

Our Response...

Okay, Marilyn - you're gonna LOVE this! You are obviously referring to Leviticus 23:14 which says "You are not to eat bread, dried grain or fresh grain until the day you bring the offering for your God; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live."

Since this verse in Leviticus follows 23:5-13 where YHVH is once again explaining the observance of Pesach to Moshe, it sounds like this is a prohibition of "bread" and even "grain". But you must really study the Scripture to determine the essence of what is being taught to Moshe to understand this.

First, realize that the week following Pesach is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when all we are allowed to eat is MATZAH - or unleavened bread. Unleavened bread is bread which was not given time to rise (hametz) before it was baked. But Matzah contains flour and the flour is from grain - barley or wheat. So when you read Leviticus 23:14 which says "You are not to eat bread, dried grain or fresh grain...." it sounds like a complete contradiction! If we are allowed to eat matzah - which contains grain, then how can Leviticus 23:14 say we can't eat grain?

The answer is in the context of the Scripture, and in the original meaning of the Hebrew text.

Remember, while the text of the Scripture of Leviticus is being given, the Israelites (and mixed multitude with them), were in the desert living on a daily supplement of manna which had begun in Exodus 16, so when these instructions in Leviticus 16 were given, it was for a future time.

So let's look at the verse, Leviticus 23:14. Here we will insert the phonetic translation of the original Hebrew next to the English: "You are not to eat bread [lechem], dried grain [qahli] or fresh grain [charmel] until the day you bring the offering for your God; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live."

"Lechem" in this case does not mean "leavened bread" in the opposite sense that "matzah" means "unleavened bread". Here, lechem, means "grain for making bread". Then, qahli (roasted grain) is grain that has been prepared for making into flour, and finally, charmel (fresh grain or "new growth"), refers to grain from a new crop. Thus, Leviticus 23:14, in context, is referring to bread made from new grain from the fresh (this current season's) crop is not to be used for food until the sheaf of first fruits has been waved before YHWH.

So, is there any evidence that what we've said is true? That is, that these instructions in Leviticus were for a future time? Yes! There is!

Moshe dies in the end of Deuteronomy and Joshua takes over the responsibility to shepherd the Israelites into the promised land. And in Joshua 5:10-12 we read: "10 The people of Isra'el camped at Gilgal, and they observed Pesach on the fourteenth day of the month, there on the plains of Yericho. 11 The day after Pesach they ate what the land produced, matzah and roasted ears of grain that day. 12 The following day, after they had eaten food produced in the land, the man ended.

See verse 11? "The day after Pesach they ate what the land produced, matzah and roasted ears of grain that day." So in complete compliance with the order in Leviticus 23:14, the people, after crossing over, ate the new grain from the land "the day after Pesach". Though it does not say, since (1) it is the day after Pesach and (2) they are eating new grain, we can assume that the waving of the first fruits happened also in compliance with the commands of Leviticus 23:11.

So it became a perpetual commandment, that the NEW GRAIN from the crops of that year, were not to be eaten until the grain of the wave offering was given on the day after the High Shabbat of Pesach. Until the wave offering was made however, the matzah continued to be made from the OLD grain from last year.

Bottom line: You can make your grain drinks for your husband without fear of breaking Torah. There is virtually no likelihood that the grain you are using is from this year's crop near Pesach.