I had forgotten the bread/salt/broom custom! Such actions have a kind of power, I think. If nothing more, they name the idols. The ritual also fuses mind, will and body, thereby reinforcing the intent. You'll have to forgive me if I make use of the ritual in worship and other settings in the future!
Our recent postings also remind me of the importance of spiritual exercises. We agree, of course, that the experience of God comes as it will. Spiritual exercises have their place though, and you described it beautifully: they "exercise our capacity to have the experience."
I wonder if a wide range of the food, dress, worship, etc. laws might best be understood in such a light? Perhaps they were given not so much for their own sake or as arbitary tests to be passed, but instead as exercises to strengthen the capactity for the experience of the presence of God.
OK. I'm ready to press on and see what the next bit of text stirs up between us.