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Why are so Many Afraid of Baking Challah?

Why are so many scared away from baking challah? What advice do you have for them?

I think a lot of people just assume that making your own challahs is a project, a burden, something that will take too long and be too hard to do. Many, many women are also not aware of the tremendous reward they get for this mitzvah, as it is one of the three main mitzvohs given specifically to women! Every single mitzvah is very important but the mitzvah of challah is especially so since it was designated for women. Men can do the mitzvah (as in the case of bakeries) too, but it was really set aside for women to do. And the opportunities for praying while doing it are immense.

Challah is not so hard; and in fact, it can be quite enjoyable. I wrote the book splitting it up into steps with lots of tips there to help even the busiest, least kitchen-oriented person. You can break the process up into parts if it’s easier for you that way, you can make a large amount at once on a day that you plan to be home for a few hours and then freeze the challahs – there are lots of ideas on how to still do this mitzvah even if you are short on time or don’t usually bake. It is something that really can become very meaningful to everyone.

By the way, the mitzvah of challah is NOT the shaping and the baking – that is the part of beautifying the mitzvah. The actual mitzvah is when you make a dough using quantities of flour large enough to need the biblical ‘separating of challah’ the piece we separate off with a blessing and then either burn or double wrap it and throw it away. When we had the Bais Hamikdash, that piece went to the Kohen. Today we don’t have that possibility but if enough women everywhere would do the mitzvah properly and pray the first tefillah we all say after taking challah with a bracha, it will bring that possibility much closer, much faster!

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