The ins and outs of taking challah
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Is the mitzva of taking challah tied to the Land of Israel? Does it apply abroad? Could you also please tell me, in short, what laws and procedures are involved in this mitzva?
The mitzva of challah is, indeed, a mitzva hateluya ba’aretz, a mitzva tied to the Land of Israel. However, it was instituted by our Sages for the Diaspora as well so “the laws of challah would not be forgotten by the Jewish People.”
Laws of taking challah
- Men and women need to take challah, but women take precedence.
- For dough containing at least 1.666 kg (a little more than 7 cups) of flour, challah is taken with a blessing. For amounts of flour between 1.2 kg and 1.666 kg (5–7 cups), challah is taken without a blessing.
- For thick dough (solid enough that when the bowl is overturned, the dough falls out together) that will be baked in the oven, challah is taken with a blessing.
- For thick dough that will be cooked in water or in another liquid (ex. deep frying in oil), challah is taken without a blessing.
- For a thin (pourable) batter meant to be baked in the oven, challah is taken with a blessing but only after it is baked.
- A thin batter that will be cooked is exempt from challah.
Procedure for taking challah
- Place the dough in front of you and say:
- Ashkenazi custom: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲֹשֶר קִדְֹּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִיוָּנוּ לְהַפְרִיֹש חַלָּה
Some add: מִן הָעִיסָה
- Sephardi custom: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲֹשֶר קִדְֹּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִיוָּנוּ לְהַפְרִיֹש חַלָּה תְרוּמָה
- Take a small part of the dough, and say: הֲרֵי זוֹ חַלָּה
The custom is to take a piece of dough less than a kezayit (27 cc).
- Double bag it and place it in the trash or burn the challah by itself.