Why The Challah ? Why Its Cover ?
Most challahs are braided with either three or six strands of dough, representing a ceremonial bread. Why?
The braided dough of challah represents unity. Throughout life, as our families go about our daily lives, diverse activities, and pursuits, life is busy. Very busy. On Shabbat and other Holidays, we symbolically tie everything together, unifying our diversity, for at least a few hours, together in peaceful harmony; thus, the braided challah, reminding everyone of the unity of our families, our values, and our mutual objectives in life.
When placed on a table before serving, often before a religious ceremony or other special occasion, the challah is covered with a ceremonial cloth. The cover protects the challah until it is blessed (“The Motzi”) and distributed to the family and guests.
In our Chavurah, every family (or so it seems) has at least one challah cover. Some covers are personally designed and hand-crafted, lovingly created by someone’s Mother or Grand-Mother. Others, Israeli in origin, are gifts to our families. As you see here, many of our challah covers are crocheted or embroidered, and all are colorful, artistic, and beautiful.
Here are some of our families’ challah covers “at work” on display at our Chavurah Shabbat and other ceremonial occasions. (Bernie Weiss Photos)