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Bread of Affection

Riki Goldstein

Famous challah makers around the world reveal their baking secrets, worst disasters, and inspiration for getting that challah braided and baked, week after week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In the days of Sarah, and then Rivkah, three miracles distinguished the Matriarchal tent, marking it as holy: the Shechinah resting in a cloud above, the Shabbos candles burning all week, and the blessing in the dough. In the Mishkan and later, in the Beis Hamikdash, these three elements were symbolized by the Cloud of Divine Presence, the Eternal Light (Ner Tamid), and the Lechem Hapanim, the 12 special breads that retained their freshness weeklong. Though we have no Beis Hamikdash today, women have three mitzvos corresponding to this crucial triad within the Jewish home, the mikdash me’at: lighting Shabbos candles, separating challah, and the laws of family purity. When a Jewish woman fulfills her three mitzvos, she builds her home on the foundation of our foremothers, beckons the Shechinah and Divine blessing to rest within, and brings closer the ultimate Redemption. The Chofetz Chaim underscores the importance of the mitzvah of challah in his Biur Halachah explanation on the Mishnah Berurah, siman 242. He writes, “Nowadays some women have begun to let this custom drop, and take challah from the baker. This is not correct — they are reducing the honor of Shabbos.” Challah has abundant spiritual potency, and can help us correct the sin of Chava. It’s one of a women’s special mitzvos, and, this week, it is a special segulah for parnassah. Baking challah is enjoyable, and according to our challah experts, can be easy too. Roll up your sleeves and hear their perspectives….

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