DIY Ritual. DIY Joy.
DIY Ritual. DIY Joy.
Time to Nourish: Blessing the Bread
Nourish yourself and bless a special bread for Shabbat in a way that feels meaningful to you.
Remove the challah cover and uncover new (and old) rituals of sharing ha’motzi. There are many ways to enjoy Shabbat rituals + Friday night dinners, so we asked five OneTable hosts to share their unique practices, challenges, and inspiration. Watch how they bless the bread, share with their guests, and adapt the ritual to meet their needs.
DIY Ritual: Welcoming guests into the mood of Shabbat in different ways
DIY Joy: Bringing Judaism into his home by hosting Shabbat dinners
DIY Ritual: Using a gender-inclusive blessing that empowers guests
DIY Joy: Connecting Shabbat dinners with activism
DIY Ritual: Being more comfortable setting intentions in a personal setting
DIY Joy: Sharing gratitude for the week with those sharing Shabbat
DIY Ritual: Tapping into family traditions and creating her own practice
DIY Joy: Redefining traditions as a new couple
DIY Ritual: Building on her family traditions from different cultures
DIY Joy: Singing around the Shabbat table
Are you ready to enrich your Friday nights?
Check out these additional resources to create your rituals. As you get ready to bring in Shabbat, share your rituals + reflections on social with @onetableshabbat and use #HowIShabbat.
Blessing the Bread at Your Next Shabbat Dinner
Before we eat we pause to recognize and elevate the miracle of nourishment, bread itself and its source. Here are some elements you might consider.
- What: Two whole loaves of bread are traditionally used, one is good too. Braided challah, dinner rolls, injera or pita all work.
- When: After blessing the wine, before starting the meal.
- Who: All genders are welcome to bless the bread.
- How: Two whole loaves are traditionally covered, then revealed when blessed. Some people slice, others tear the bread. Then dip or sprinkle with salt, to make the first bite extra tasty.
On many tables you will find two loaves of challah rather than one. On Shabbat, we revel in possibility and abundance. It symbolizes lechem mishna, the double portion of manna that sustains us through Shabbat.
After uncovering the challah, one person can hold the bread or raise it in the air. If there are two challah loaves, some hold them next to each other (or on top of each other) so that they touch. Others have a tradition of inviting everyone who is present to touch the challah or — depending on the size of the group, place their hand on someone else who is touching the challah — as a reminder of all the many hands that go into the process of making bread.
Jewish tradition teaches that once we recite a blessing, we should do the action we’re blessing as quickly as possible. In that vein, the person who recites motzi typically takes the first bite of challah, then slices or rips into the challah to share with the table.
There are several different reasons for why challah is braided. The three strands of the braid can symbolize three qualities that Shabbat is associated with, such as beauty, honor, and strength; or truth, peace, and justice; or past, present, and future; or the divine instructions to remember, observe, and guard Shabbat. The idea of weaving together different strands of a braid is also symbolic.