We are sure you have heard of the new ways women are incorporating challah into their routine schedule with neighborhood challah bakes. It is a beautiful initiative where we come together with our rising doughs to make the blessings and answer amen to everyone else’s. Now more than ever, we have been banding together to merit our nation with anything we can think of. It is the perfect opportunity for the mitzvah of challah.
Many of you might be wondering how you can get one started in your own neighborhood. And we are here to tell you that it is really not so complicated.
1. Send out an invite to your friends and let them know the time and place to bring their dough. Of course, bringing your own dough is optional! If people want to just come to answer amen, that is major, too!
2. It is a nice touch to get someone to say something inspirational before the start of the hafrasha. It does not have to be a professional speaker, but you or one of your friends might wants to share personal thoughts on this special mitzvah that is gifted solely to women. Perhaps someone even has some anecdotal experience on seeing the bracha of challah influence her life.
3. For those bringing dough, make sure that they bring it ready to perform the mitzvah, i.e, after it has finished rising. To make sure that all doughs are in top form, it is helpful to write the intended time you are actually going to begin taking dough on the invite. For example, if the event is called for 11, and you would like someone to make opening remarks at 11:15, write that hafrashat challah will be performed at 11:30.
(Read more about how to take hafrashat challah.)
4. After hafrashat challah, many people take home their dough to braid, egg, and bake. However, if you have the time and space, you can offer a table where everyone is able to work on their dough. Either provide the pans or tell everyone to bring whatever pans they need. If you go this route, providing some extra flour, oil, and eggs for egging would also be extremely helpful. And working over a plastic tablecloth will save you a lot of clean up after this is over!
5. EXTRA CREDIT: If you are making space for your guests to braid, you can also provide toppings like sesame seeds, everything but the bagel spice, or cinnamon sugar, as well!
As famous Jewish Challah Experience guide Tamar Ansch aptly explains, “There are only THREE mitzvot, out of all the 613 in the Torah, that are singled out as specifically for women. And you know what? Hafrashat challah is one of those three. That shows us how very powerful it is.”
And we’re told by our Chazal, (our holy Torah authorities) that at the time when we do this mitzvah, it’s an especially auspicious time for prayer.
Each of the three main mitzvot of the woman — Challah, Family Purity, and Hadlakat HaNer (Shabbos candle lighting) are intrinsic to the holiness of the home. When we do these three mitzvot properly, they turn our homes into the “mikdash me’aht“, the small sanctuaries, our Jewish homes are meant to become.
And all of this is found within these mitzvot of the Jewish woman.
We will delve into this special privilege while we’re on the Challah Davening event together.
The important aspect of these events is the mitzvah and the bracha that it releases in this world. Do not get bogged down by the details. If all you can manage is a ten-minute get-together where everyone takes turns saying the bracha and answering amen, that is perfect and powerful, too.
It is said that if women knew the power their challahs had in the world, no bakery would be able to sell challahs on erev Shabbat.
Want to join a worldwide Challah Bake? Join Tamar as she unites with Rebbetzin Tziporah (Heller) Gotlieb, Rebbetzin Rena Tarshish, and Rebbetzin Sarah Meisels to bring you an experiencing that is uplifting, encouraging, and powerful beyond belief. Bake challah with our sisters everywhere to help bring the geula as quickly as possible. We cannot wait to see you there. Click here to sign up and access the free virtual event!