The traditional mitzvah of hafrashat challah ("taking" or "separating" challah) refers to removing and burning a small piece of challah dough as a symbolic offering before baking (some people throw away that piece instead of burning). In the time of the ancient temple in Jerusalem, the Israelites would give challah as an offering to the kohanim (priests). This mitzvah created a connection between groups of people who had separate roles in society, and brought holiness to a mundane act. Today, as many of us are in isolation due to COVID-19, we can perform this mitzvah of "taking" challah as a way to connect us to the wider community that we are temporarily separated from.
Download a challah recipe below.
Blessed may you be, loved ones –
Distant or close by,
Safely guarded in my heart but far apart.
Like a braided challah we are bounded together,
In this strange reality of fear and confusion.
Let us go back to the beginning,
To the simple and fundamental,
To comfort and healing,
To warmth and love and care.
I take this challah today with a hope for a better tomorrow,
With a wish for a healthy and strong future,
For us all.