November 15, 2013

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, November 15, 2013. 


Challah, that braided egg bread loaf, is probably the most famous Sabbath food, and as such is internationally and universally recognized. (If there are ever Sabbath dinners on Mars, they will most certainly include a challah.) In the old days of the Templein Jerusalem, the Challah was the special bread that was used as a sacrifice. Twelve loaves (sometimes called “showbread,”) would be prepared from donations of dough, then placed in special racks in the Temple. They would actually be eaten a week later by the priests in the Temple. Ever since the Templewas destroyed by the Romans in the year 70, the Challah is not used as a sacrifice in the same way as in ancient days, yet traditional Jews remove a portion of their Sabbath bread dough to be burned up in the oven as a sort of sacrifice reminiscent of the sacrifices of the old days. Technically, the challah is that burned up part that we don’t eat (no one but the priest could eat that)!!! Nevertheless, we still call that part that we do eat, the challah.

Next week: Why is the challah braided?

Shabbat Shalom