Today "challah" refers to the bread eaten on Shabbat and holidays. Originally "challah" refered to the small piece of dough that was set aside for the kohen (priest) when making bread (Numbers 15:20). Today Jewish women bless, separate and burn a small piece of dough when making bread in remembrance of the portion given to God (through the Temple priests) in ancient times. This ritual reminds us that sustenance ultimately comes from God and transforms baking bread into a spiritual act.
Time Required: 2 hours
- Use a challah recipe (see links below) to make dough for challah loaves.
- When the dough is ready to be shaped into loaves, say the following blessing: Baruch Ata A-Do-Nay Elo-haynu Melech HaOlam Asher Kidishanu B'Mitzvotav V'Tziyvanu L'Hafrish Challah. (Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate Challah).
- Immediately after saying the blessing, pinch off a piece of dough, approximately the size of an olive or one ounce, and say: harai zeh challah (this is challah).
- Then wrap the separated piece of dough in foil and burn it in the oven. The separated piece of challah should be burned so that it is no longer usable.