Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Separating the Challah

    In Temple times, one of the priestly gifts was a bit of dough separated before baking, called hafrashat challah.We still symbolically observe this commandment, and if your dough is big enough - more than 1.3 kilos - you remove a small amount of dough, make the blessing and burn it.

    The commandment appears in Numbers (15:18-21): "When you enter the land . . from the first of your dough you shall give to the LORD." As with all first fruit Temple gifts (bikurim), hafrashat challah is about remembering that although we toiled to produce our bread, it doesn't wholly belong to us. Hafrashat challah is said to "make a blessing rest upon your home" (Ezekiel 44:30).

    This mitzvah has become a time for prayer for many women, who often are (although not always) the bread bakers in the family. In Jerusalem, there are workshops in which women bake bread and pray together.

    Some batmitzvah girls bake bread at their parties and lead guests in the blessing of hafrashat challah.

    According to the Midrash, Sarah's dough contained a blessing, allowing it to remain fresh all week. Bread is more than a meal; it is our work and a way of connecting with loved ones.

Jewish ways

Not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah
Jewish ways

Censoring Aleinu

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Censoring Aleinu
Jewish ways

Veggie cheeseburgers

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Veggie cheeseburgers
Jewish ways

Reading the ketubah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Friday, September 4, 2015

Reading the ketubah
Jewish ways

Reciting psalm 27 in Ellul

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reciting psalm 27 in Ellul
Jewish ways

Havdalah before Tishah B'av

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Havdalah before Tishah B'av
Jewish ways

Thirteen Attributes

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thirteen Attributes
Jewish ways

Dedicating a new home

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dedicating a new home
Jewish ways

Spilling wine at Havdalah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Spilling wine at Havdalah