There is something so pleasant and sensual about making bread that it is hard to forget at any age. It has to do with cooking being an integral act. When we cook, and especially when we make halal bread, we use our five senses.
When taking the dough and molding it in our hands, we use touch; When we bake it, and we have the pleasure of appreciating its aroma we use to smell, when we braid it or decorate it, we use sight, when we respond amen to the berajá (blessing) before eating we use the ear and when savoring it between our teeth we use to taste.
Each of these moments separately is worth living. However, they become even more pleasant when we give them meaning; when we return our eternal pleasure. What happens when we cook and eat Shabbat bread?
What is the Importance of Making Halal Bread at Shabbat?
Shabbat is the day we honor God through our pleasure. In Judaism, it is the most spiritual day: it represents God’s rest on the seventh day of Creation, work is forbidden, and enjoying the day is a divine mandate.
There are many ways to honor and praise him; one of them is to eat halal bread at three different meals on this day, as bread serves as a symbol of material perfection and man’s elevation.
They symbolize the manna (divine food) that came down from heaven in a cloud of dew to feed the Jewish people on their journey through the desert.
The bread used on Shabbat is generally braided because it symbolizes the union of matter and spirit.
The braided challah eaten on Shabbat is the synthesis of both; the mitzvah of separating the dough was performed on her, and she is the symbol of manna. It is one of the complete ways we have to honor God “with all our resources.”