Sassetta's Institution of the Eucharist

This week fellow blogger and friend JohnDave Medina came to my home and we were discussing various aspect of Roman Catholic doctrine and practice (since he is a recent re-convert). One area of discussion was the Eucharist. I mentioned a fascinating element of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection found in The Community Rule (which is the result of several scroll and fragments if I am correct) where there is something known as “the Meal of the Congregation” (Geza Vermes) or “the Pure Meal” (Wise, Abegg, and Cook). I thought it soundly a lot like Eucharist in some ways, so I thought I’d list those here.

In VI.25 one can be banned from the meal for lying about money. In VI.27 it can be for usurping authority. In VII. 15 it can be for gossiping about a companion/friend. In VII.19-20 it can be for deviating from the secret teaching of the community. And here we also find the “Drink of the Congregation”. In VIII.20-25 a more specific Council is mentioned and here people can receive punishment that prevents them from this meal.

I don’t think this is merely the daily meal because it seems like suspensions can last for as long as a year. That would be a death sentence. So it must have more significance.

Does anyone know much about the meal at Qumran? If so, what do you think makes it significant? Is there any chance that it could be similar in any way to the Christian sacrament of Eucharist/Communion?