Tuesday, May 15, 2012

For a "Segula" Special Prayer

How does one translate "segula" without sounding a bit strange?  Last week I baked challot as a "segula" for someone who really wants to get married and have kids.

We ended up being invited out for both main meals on Shabbat, so I brought challot with me and requested that everyone eat from them.  (And there are still some in the freezer.)

Years ago, when I first attempted challah baking and until just a couple of years ago, I considered it a very stressful act.  My first time baking challah was the very first time I had ever seen yeast dough, so I really didn't know what I was doing.  It made me feel very insecure.  There were times I baked challah very frequently, but that feeling of "I really don't know what I'm doing" dominated the experience. 

I also discovered an "allergy" to fresh yeast, which used to be the only type in Israel.  My fingernails would get infected, so I kneaded the dough wearing cotton gloves.  Oh, yes, I always have made my challah by hand, sans machinery.  Discovering dehydrated yeast made the kneading much safer and healthier.

Then a few years ago, after my neighbor totally renovated her kitchen she had a special challah-baking ceremony as a chanukat habayit, celebration.  A different neighbor came in and showed us how to make challah with a special ingredient, prayers.  Ever since then, my challah baking has become a special spiritual experience.

PS you can find my challah recipe here.

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