Pesach is over, we are firmly back in real time, and the house smells of Challah again. yay! If you’re breathing (and on instagram, facebook... or generally on planet earth ;) you’ve probably noticed that it’s “shlissel (key) challah” week - countless key challahs are being photographed and streamed as we speak! An ancient tradition, the Jewish women of yore would bake a key shaped challah (or a key baked into the challah - take your pick!) on the Shabbat following Pesach. The key in our sacred bread signifies the desire for the gates of heaven to be opened and the grains (sustenance) to pour into our lives.
Our sages teach that while the general judgment on life occurs during the high holy days… it is during the holiday of Passover that we are judged on our sustenance. That means that these are the days in which it is decided how abundant our parnasah (ie; livelihood... dough;) will be this coming year. There are many traditions that have developed to correspond with this.
In Syria and Turkey the women would sprinkle grains around the corners of their home at the closing of Passover, and in Eastern Europe, the women would bake keys into their challah. Whatever your tradition - there is nothing like challah to reconnect us to the awareness that as hard as we work to bring in the ‘dough’... the ultimate sustenance is always a blessing from above and we want to be open to receive it! We are in the days of sefirah now… counting each day, as we rebuild our vessel that we recently emptied of chametz. Each night, we state the day and the corresponding emotional sefirah which we are learning to balance within ourselves.
The prayer that accompanies this counting is so beautiful.
We ask that we should be purified, as we move towards the giving of the Torah and higher awareness, and that this purification of our personality and intentions should influence a ‘shefa rav’ a tremendous abundance, in all the worlds. In emptying ourselves of chametz (swelling, inflammation, excess ego - all that blocks us) we recognized our essential self—that which doesn’t need all the extras—we are perfect as we are at our essence. This now makes room for us to refill our beings with that which serves us, and our higher purpose. We pray that the abundance that is ever-present in Hashem’s storehouse of goodness and blessing be directed into our lives, and that we make use of this ‘shefa rav’ in the most beautiful and pure way. Check out my challah recipe that was brought to life especially for this week of Shlissel Challah! I created this recipe to celebrate the abundance of grain and sustenance that we invite into our home and our lives this Shabbat!
It is a Multi-Grain Seeded “Abundance” Challah that is just bursting to the seams with goodness. It tastes like the earth, in a really good way, and reminds us that all of this blessing is ours for the asking… just desire it, and you will create it. May you all be blessed with an abundance of all you wish for, and even that which you don’t think to ask for… it is all for you. Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov. From my kitchen to your hearts. With love, Rochie