The Laws of Separating Challah


imagescactwr231. A loaf of bread made from (any of) the five species of grain [wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt] must have challah separated from it. Before we separate challah, the following blessing is recited: Boruch Attoh A-d-o-n-o-i Eloh-einu Melech ho’olom asher kid’shonu b’mitzvosov v’tzivonu l’hafrish challah. Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah.

A portion of dough, the measure of an olive, is taken* from the dough and burnt in fire. It is customary to burn this portion in the same oven in which the dough is baked.**

* {The Misgeres Hashulchon 1 writes that it is also proper to designate the separated dough verbally as challah.}

** {This practice should not be followed in Eretz Yisroel, where different rules apply to the dough separated as challah.}

2. How large must dough be before one is obligated to separate challah? Any dough made from five revi’im of flour. This is a measure equal to 43 and one fifth eggs.*

* {In modern measure, this figure is approximately 73 fluid ounces, 9.125 cups, or 131.8 cubic inches. In Hilchos Bikkurim 6:15, the Rambam elaborates further on this subject and gives a measure according to weight as well. In modern measure, the figure he gives equals approximately 1.7 kilograms (close to 4 lbs.).}

3. When matzos are baked for Pesach, each dough does not contain a measure requiring the separation of challah in its own right. Nevertheless, since afterwards the matzos are all places together in a single container, the container causes them to be considered as a single entity.* Hence, challah must be separated from them.

* {The Shulchon Oruch HoRav (457:2) and the Mishnoh Beruroh (457:7) also require that the matzos touch each other.}

Care should be taken that all the matzos are places within the container. If part of the matzoh is placed within the container and part extends beyond the container, it is included among the other matzos. However, if an entire matzoh is places [on top of the others,] above the walls of the container and not inside it, it is not included as part of the others. Even covering them with a cloth does not change the ruling.*

* {The Mishnoh Beruroh (457:1) quotes certain opinions which allow leniency when the matzos are placed above the walls of the container.}

However, should one place the matzos in a sheet and cover them with a sheet, the sheet is considered and causes them to be considered as a single entity, even though the middle is uncovered. However, one should take care that an entire matzoh should not be outside the covering.

4. Leaven taken from the dough to be used to cause other doughs to rise should be taken before challah is separated. However, leaven which is taken to cause borscht to ferment must be taken after challah has been separated.

5. After Pesach, when yeast is purchased from a gentile to cause dough to rise, the portion separated as challah must be larger than the quantity of yeast.

6. When dough is made to be cooked or fried, one should separate challah without reciting a blessing. If even a small portion of the dough was made to be used for baking, one should separate challah with a blessing.

7. If a dough was made with eggs or other liquids categorized as “from fruits”‘ there are may questions concerning the separation of challah. Accordingly, while the dough is being kneaded, some water, milk, bee’s honey, wine, or olive oil should be mixed into the dough. Then challah may be separated with a blessing.*

* {Based on the comments of the Misgeres Hashulchon 5, it is preferable to use water for this purpose rather than other beverages.}

8. The mitzvah of separating challah belong to the woman of the house. However, if this woman is not home and there is a possibility that the dough will spoil, a servant or another person may separate it.

9. If one forgot to separate challah on Friday [from the bread intended for the Sabbath,] in the Diaspora, it is allowed to be eaten on the Sabbath, provided a portion is left over from which challah is separated on Saturday night. This portion must be large enough that even after the challah has been separated some bread will remain, for the remaining portion must be significant.

If the day before Pesach was Sabbath and one forgot to separate challah from the bread baked for the Sabbath, there is much confusion concerning the course of action to follow. Therefore, on Friday, each person should remind his family concerning the separation of challah.

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  1. 1.The custom is that the brocha is Lehafrish Challah Min Hoisoh.
    2. Challah must be taken for amounts less than that mentioned above without a brocha.
    3. You do not mention that challah must be taken (after baking) from a batter that will be baked. (such as sponge cakes)