Our hearts are overjoyed with the responses that we have been getting. People are taking on so many different things to change the world for the better, in Tehilla's merit that her surgery go well. It breaths strength into our every action while preparing for Tehilla's upcoming surgery.
Tehilla's surgery is 18 days away. While we prepare our home and family, there is one initiative that really strikes a note with me. People all over the world are baking challah bread with Tehilla in mind. This is a very meaningful mitzvah to me, and it is something that I would love to broadcast.
Baking challah has always been a very spiritual task for me. It is a time, when I meditate on the centuries of men and women that have performed this simple task of baking bread. It is a mitzvah that has been performed in all cultures, in all countries and it is the most basic of food type. When I am mixing my ingredients, I think of women, like me, pouring their souls into kneading their bread. Their lips whisper their most precious hopes and dreams for themselves and for their families. I think of my foremothers, I think of women enslaved in Egypt, I think of women in the Holocaust, I think of the women in my family, I think of women in my community. It is like a dough that binds us together through a task rich with our heritage.
Bread is the simplest form of food. Yet, the act of hafrashat challah (separating a piece of challah dough), is what imbues our challah with holiness. Our act of hafrashat challah is a reminder to us that G-d transcends nature. And that is why it is so important to me right now.
We know that Tehilla is a miracle. She is a little girl with a half a heart. And we know that we are going into a open heart surgery with added risks. We understand that the cards are not entirely in our favor. So, what we need right now, is for G-d to transcend over nature.
Please join me on Wednesday, December 3, the day before Tehilla's surgery, and bake challah. If you have never done it before, do it for Tehilla. And if you had no intention on doing it smack in the middle of the week, do it for Tehilla.
Send pictures of your wonderful challahs to email@example.com and I will post them up on the blog. Make sure to write your first name and your city and country.
Here is the link to the Facebook event:
I am adding below my recipe for challah, as well as, instructions on how to do hafrashat challah.
Here is the recipe for challah that I use: (It is from Kosher by Design)
1/2 c warm water
1 Tbsp dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
7 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups oil
7 tsp salt
4 c boiling water
2 kg of flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
sesame seeds or poppy seeds
Place the warm water, yeast and 1 Tbsp sugar into a large bowl. Set aside in a warm place.
Crack 7 eggs into a very large pot or bowl and mix. In a separate large bowl, combine the 2 cups sugar, oil, slat, and boiling water. Mix with a wooden spoon.
When yeast is proofed, add to the egg mixture.
Add the sugar/oil mixture into the pot. Stir. Add the flour into the pot in 3 additions, mixing well with wooden spoon.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour on your kneading surface. Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, adding flour as needed.
Put the dough back into the large pot or bowl and cover with a damp kitchen dishtowel. Let rise for 2-3 hours. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. This is where you do the mitzvah of hafrashat challah.
Preheat oven to 350. Separate the dough into 7 equal sized pieces and braid or prepare them, as you wish.
Let them rise, covered for 30 minutes. Brush with 1 beaten egg. Sprinkle with topping. Bake for 30 minutes.
Makes 6-7 challahs
Doing Hafrashat Challah
1. Place dough in front of you.
2. Some have the custom of giving charity, or washing hands.
3. Recite the bracha (blessing).
ברוך אתה ה' אלוקנו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להפריש חלה מן העסה
Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to separate challah from the dough.
ברוך אתה ה' אלוקנו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להפריש חלה תרומה
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments, and commanded us to separate challah terumah.
4. Remove a small piece (28 grams) from the dough, lift it, and say:
הרי זו חלה
This is Challah
5. Burn the separated dough or wrap it in two layers and discard it.