web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Shlissel (Key) Challah: The Loaf of Idolatry?

Share Button

This is an unusual post with which to kick off my new blog,  on the JewishPress.com.

I was sent a research paper that discussed the origins of the Minhag of the “Shlissel Challah”, the custom of baking a key into a Shabbat loaf of bread. It turns out that Shelomo Alfassa’s research uncovered some surprising origins for this “Jewish” custom. You can read the entire paper here, but here are key points from the research paper:

- Every year Jewish women, young and old, partake in the Ashkenazi custom to place a key (such as a door key to a home), inside the dough of a loaf of bread that they bake. This custom is known as shlissel challah—shlissel from the German language shlüssel (key) and challah or hallah from the Hebrew for bread.

- The baking of a key inside a bread is a non-Jewish custom which has its foundation in Christian, and possibly even earlier, pagan culture. At least one old Irish source tells how at times when a town was under attack, the men said, ―let our women-folk be instructed in the art of baking cakes containing keys.

- Keys were traditionally manufactured in the form of a cross, the traditional symbol of Christianity, a physical item all Christian commoners would possess in their home. On Easter, the Christian holiday which celebrates the idea of Jesus “rising” from the dead, they would bake the symbol of Jesus—the key shaped like a cross—into or onto a rising loaf.

- The modern Jewish custom of baking the symbolic shlissel challah, annually takes place on the shabbat immediately following the holiday of Pessah, when tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of religiously observant Jewish women practice this observance.

- In Christianity, baked goods associated with keys are commonly called “Easter breads,” and in Europe they are also known as “Paschals” as the holiday of Easter in the East is known as “Pascha” or “Pascua.” This is most likely the reason Christians often call Easter breads baked with keys Paschals.

- While the custom is said to be mentioned in the writings of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel (the Apter Rav 1748-1825) and in the Ta’amei ha-Minhagim (1891), there is no one clear source for shlissel challah. And while people will say there is a passuq attributed to it, there is not. And, even if there were, a passuq that can be linked to the practice is not the same as a source. Micha Berger, founder of the AishDas Society, [orthodox] calls this type of logic “reverse engineering,” it‘s like drawing a circle around an arrow in a tree, and subsequently declaring the arrow is a bullseye. The idea of baking shlissel challah is not from the Torah; it‘s not in the Tannaitic, Amoraitic, Savoraitic, Gaonic or Rishonic literature.

- Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim19 of Mesora.Org [orthodox] teaches that:

The Torah teaches that Hashem punishes the wicked, and rewards the righteous. It does not say that challah baking or any other activity will help address our needs…When the matriarchs were barren, they did not resort to segulas, but introspected and prayed…Nothing in Torah supports this concept of segula; Torah sources reject the idea of a segula…baking challas with brachos cannot help…segulas are useless, and violate the Torah prohibition of Nichush [good luck charms]. It does not matter if the charm is a rabbit‘s foot, a horseshoe, a challah, key or a red bendel. The practice assumes that forces exist, which do not, and it is idolatrous.

- On the far end of the scale, it can be said that shlissel challah observance is a nothing less than “the way of the Amorites.” It is precisely this type of behavior and observance which Jews are supposed to separate themselves from, so it doesn’t go on to influence our thoughts and deeds. Am Yisrael was not created to lose itself in such folklore, and Judaism without disciplined study is nothing but folklore. Judaism allows and encourages the use of our minds. It‘s never too late to realign our path with Torah sources, not blind faith practices which are trendy, in, or cool.

- Educated Jews should help to promote Torah sources to our friends and neighbors, not false practices which are of non-Jewish origin and have nothing to do with Judaism.

100 Amens to that!


Share Button

About the Author: Jameel blogs at the Muqata: http://www.muqata.com Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Shlissel (Key) Challah: The Loaf of Idolatry?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, Kansas, the school attended by 14-year-old shooting victim Reat Griffin Underwood.
Kansas Shooting Suspect a White Supremacist, Indicted for Murder
Latest Blogs Stories
Justin Hayet (second from right) at the State University of New York at Binghamton, supporting Israel against anti-Israel attacks.

Pro-Israel leaders on campus are as important as the troops in the IDF and professional hasbaraniks.

Children re-enacting the Exodus from Egypt, in southern Israel, April 10, 2014.

The seder reminds us of our freedom now that we are home again in the land of the Nation of Israel

IDF Crew Chiefs on Elite Helicopter Mission. Jan. 13, 2014

IDF helicopters are ready to act on a moment’s notice to defend the State of Israel.

The Samson Super Hercules aircraft ensures the IDF can safeguard Israel from far beyond her shores.

Rudoren and the Times are determined to go the extra mile to humanize Barghouti.

Gazans are among the principal victims of the terror-addicted Hamas Islamists.

Factors that you need to take into account when deciding whether to rent or buy a home.

Intelligence organizations seek enemy’s secrets; for the past 35 years, all secrets are on computers.

Guest Blogger Robert proves that one must not eat any Matzah on Pesach based on an article in Vosizneias.

Students most in danger of going OTD are those with damaged egos from teacher inattentiveness.

It is unfair to judge a 52 year old man with the glasses of a person who lives in a different world.

The president of the Cambridge Satchel Company talks about the exponential growth of her company.

The Arabs didn’t miss an opportunity for peace. Their goal has always been something else entirely.

Before Begin’s policy of withdrawing from Land liberated in the 6 Day War, today’s scenario was unthinkable.

Rosh Chodesh Nissan commemorates the very first mitzvah.

More Articles from Jameel@Muqata
kerry selling

Kerry doesn’t follow news from Israel very closely, he’s too busy drawing up plans for Israel’s return to Auschwitz borders.

MK Ahmad Tibi with worry beads.

It’s unfortunate that the world takes every word from MK Tibi’s mouth as sacred.

Here’s some background these papers neglected to mention…

Everything the PLO says needs to be taken with a few grains of salt…especially, when this video was provided today by the Shomron Settlement Council, taken today – of Palestinians and a Leftwing activist actively cutting down a Palestinian Olive Grove (what better way to demand international observers). Too bad for them we caught it […]

Sick of the Palestinians displaying their “map of Palestine”? Nothing will enrage them more than this map.

Are ready for the 9th of Av? The children are….

We at Jihawg Ammo hope you will stock up on Jihawg as a natural deterrent to the ever growing threat of radical Islam and Sharia Law.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/shlissel-key-challah-the-loaf-of-idolatry/2011/12/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: