Well, here we are. It is one year to the day that my cookbook baby was brought into this world. Happy Birthday RISING!
Much as the first year of all of my children, it was a year of tremendous growth, and lots of new territory! Unlike my childrens' first years, I managed to sleep very well through the nights, although there were many very early risings (ha!) to catch planes, trains etc.. to head to my next Challah/Book signing/Lecture Events...!
It has been a whirlwind, and a huge learning process, and I am grateful for every single bit of it. (Although to be honest, the extra "challah baby" weight I could do without)
It's no accident, nothing ever is, that my book was born on erev Rosh Hashanah (last year, this day was pre-RH if you will recall)
Rosh Hashanah - the Rosh of the year - is a Reishit, a beginning. Much as Challah is called "Reishit."
When we are about to enter into the land of Israel for the first time, we are instructed to take off a piece of dough - "Reishit Arisoseichem" From the first, the beginning of your dough - "remove a piece, and this piece will be called challah"
Our Sages tell us that there are only 5 things in the Torah that are called 'Reishit' / beginnings, and it is for these 5 things that the entirety of the world was created. These 5 things give us a glimpse into the purpose of creation.
One of these 5 is Challah.
When we remove a piece of our sustenance, and we declare that this is Challah - we are taking what may otherwise seem to be 'Chol' / Mundane and bringing the "Hei" of our soul awareness into it, creating the magic that is "Challah"
This reconnects us to the very Source of creation.
We reestablish our connection to the Source of all life and all sustenance and remind ourselves and the world, that "Lo Al Halechem L'vado Yichye Ha'adam" "Man does not live on bread alone"
It is the breath of life, the breath that emanates from the Source of all life, the Creator, that creates and sustains our very existence at every moment.
Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the yearly cycle, where we may feel that things are getting old and routine, and we find ourselves in a rut - but the ROSH reminds us that there is a possibility of newness and freshness and connection to the Source of all life at every moment.
Challah does the same. It never allows us to fall into a pattern of inevitability and staleness.
Just as the challah in Sarah's tent stayed fresh all week, as she maintained a deep awareness of her connection to the source of true, everlasting life, we too can stay connected to a place that is beyond form and finite matter, and in that place, all is new, all is possible and all will RISE.
This is why I wrote a whole book and cookbook of challah. This is why I get up at the crack of dawn to travel 'round the world and talk about challah. This is the message of challah. And when we become aware of it, our lives become fuller, better, more meaningful and more connected.
When we celebrate a birthday, we wish each other "Arichut Yamim" - a long life.
But arichut yamim really means long days.
We don't have control over the length of time we will be on this earth, but we can define each and every moment and live it to its fullest. That is the blessing of long days. A life in which we are fully present and connected at every moment.
Shana Tova and Arichut Yamim to you all my dear readers.
May you be inscribed and sealed in the book of life.
From my kitchen to your hearts, with love.