on Passover by means of eating it.rnBut if it does not have the taste ofrncereal, it is not subject to dough offering.rnAnd a person does not fulfilrnhis obligation to eat unleavenedrnbread of Passover by means of eatingrnit.rnWheat flour differs from rice in thernfundamental way already noted; Wlieatrnsustains the natural processes by whichrnlife commences and is sustained. Fermentationrnstarts when water is mixedrnwith flour and yeast and ends when therndough forms a crust, the enzyme in thernyeast having died in the heat of the baking.rnThe Halakhah emerges at the end ofrna long process of profound thought onrnthe nature of life processes. Its message isrnsimple: When the enzyme is activatedrnwith the addition of water to the flour andrnthe fermentation process has begun, thernobligation to separate a dough offering isrnincurred and must be met at the end,rnwhen the enzyme dies and the fermentationrnprocess concludes. I cannot think ofrna more vivid way of linking the obligationrnto separate a dough offering to the fermentationrnprocess. Such a process mustrnbe possible, and it must be under way.rnThen the consideration of God’s share inrnthe dough registers. Or to put it somewhatrnmaterially, when the flour is broughtrnto life by water and yeast, then God’srnclaim on the bread registers. The dough,rnwhen alive and expanding, encompassesrna share belonging to God, which is to bernremoved and given to the priest.rnWhat all this has to do with making thernHost of wheat should be obvious, and it isrnnot mere custom but theological truth. IfrnI had to explain on behalf of the archdiocesernof Boston why the Host must bernmade of wheat flour, I would not stoprnwith appeals to Scripture and prayer.rnThese are true but too general, and theyrnare not specific to the case.rnRather, I would seize upon the substancernof the issue, which consists, in myrnopinion, of two parts: First, the Host is explicitlyrnunleavened bread, because that isrnhow Jesus instituted the Eucharist at thernLast Supper. The definitive trait of unleavenedrnbread, broken “in memory ofrnMe,” is that it derives from wheat, whichrncan be leavened but has not been.rnSecond, the Host is made of wheat becausernwheat ferments and contains thernmystery of life, represented by the workingrnof the enzyme on the flour and water.rnFrom there, the lesson follows: the Hostrnis the source of life not in a symbolic wayrnbut in a real one, as the Catholic Churchrnhas always maintained. The Halakhah ofrnJudaism (in its context and for its reasons)rnconcurs in the logic that requires therndough offering given to the priests andrnthe matzah eaten at the Passover Seder tornbe made of a grain that participates in thernprocesses of fermentation—that is to say,rnlife.rnJacob Neusner is research professor ofrnreligion and theology at Bard College,rnAnnandale-on-Hudson, New York.rnLetter From Bogotarnby Brian KirkpatrickrnCondescension Slides SouthrnI’d forgotten that a Barnes and Noblernbookstore had opened in the old departmentrnstore building. As I walked back tornmy car in the Baltimore suburb of Towson,rnI remembered what I’d seen in thernother bookstore closer to home, so Irnchanged my path a little, pushed openrnthe heavy door, and headed for the internationalrntravel section.rnAn entire wall of alphabetized guidebooksrnrose above me. In the Latin Americanrnsection, I found Argentina, Brazil,rnCosta Rica, Cuba. Thirty million people,rnbeaches, mountains, wild orchids,rnrain forests, a lively and varied musicalrntradition —if wasn’t there. I started overrnand searched again, more slowly thisrntime. They had Antigua, Argentina, Belize,rnEcuador—the book covers alwaysrnmention the Galapagos, to pull in therntourist with a scientific bent—Jamaica,rnVenezuela. One book, entitled “LatinrnAmerican Beaches,” had a brief chapterrnon Cartagena. Beyond that, nothing.rnIf I told my friends I was going tornFrance, Spain, Italy, or even India, theyrnwould smile; they would understand;rnthey wouldn’t ask why. When I returned,rnthey would want to hear about my escapadesrnand see the pictures. We wouldrnswap stories about that quaint, inexpensivernlittle place in the fifth Arrondissement,rnthe new exhibition at the ReinarnSofia museum, or the food on British Airways.rnI would have a reputation as arncharming, sophisticated man of thernworld. Instead, they think I’m nuts.rnI’ve learned not to tell them I’m goingrnto Colombia. They react as if I had said,rn”I’ll be spending my vacation at the cityrndump.” They stiuggle to smile, but theyrncan’t think of anything polite to say. Thernmore honest among them blurt out,rn”Why?”rnI’ve sulked and thought of the wickedrnfun I could have if I asked my friendsrnpointed questions about their prejudicernagainst short, dark people. They’re arnrather politically correct crowd, and I’mrnsure they’d squirm. Instead, I’ve tried torndefend my choice. I start with GabrielrnGarcia Marquez, a Colombian from thernAtlantic Coast, then I tiot out the touristyrnlist. I tell them that, in the Street of thernEsmeralderos, men in suits stand on thernsidewalk and show you loose emeraldsrnwrapped up in waxed paper, their bodyguards’rneyes glued to your hands and therngleaming chips of green. Outside Bogota,rnyou can walk a quarter-mile into thernside of a mountain; the ceiling opensrnabove you, and you’re among the statiiesrnand candles of the Catedral de Sal, anrnimmense church carved out of an abandonedrnsalt mine. Worried about whatrnyou’ll eat? In Colombia, the stores andrnrestaurants are filled with wonderfulrnfruits you’ve never heard of, bananas thatrntaste the way they’re supposed to taste,rnand a brand of fruit juices that are to thernboring stufl^back home as a beautiful, affectionaternLatina is to a tough Americanrnfemale lawyer. This isn’t a place for arntourist?rnMy friends don’t think so. In the UnitedrnStates, condescension slides south sorneasily. The few who know a little aboutrnColombia ask that question that’s so difficultrnto answer: “Isn’t it dangerous?” Irndread that one because it is, and Colombiarndoesn’t let you forget it. Private securityrnguards stand with rifles in front ofrnstores, and boys of 18 and 19, drafted intornthe army, patrol the city streets carryingrnautomatic weapons and eyeing you suspiciously.rnIf you want a cab, your hotel willrnsuggest you let them call the company.rnOn the phone, they’ll establish a codernwith the dispatcher, and the cabbie won’trnwant to take you anywhere until you givernit to him. Last year, in a wealthy suburbrnof the big city of Cali, a group from one ofrnthe guerrilla movements (yes, there’srnmore than one) swept into a church onernSunday and kidnapped the entire congregation.rnThe current administrationrnceded the guerrillas a huge tract ofrnland —inevitably termed “the size ofrnSwitzerland” —in vain hope of makingrn36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn