The Obligation

  1. When baking bread or cake etc. that is made from specified minimum amount of flour made of wheat, barley, oats, spelt and/or rye, it is required to separate a small piece as “Challah” from each batch of dough if that dough belongs to a Jewish person. This piece is considered sanctified and wasonce given to the Cohen (Jewish priest who served in the Temple of old) as a gift.  Today the Cohen may no longer use this gift but the obligation to separate it still applies.  It needs to be disposed of in a dignified manner (see below).
  2. The obligation to separate “Challah” is dependent on the owner – not on the one who kneads the dough.  If the owner of the dough is Jewish – even if the person who makes the dough or the one who will later eat the bread made from  the dough in not Jewish – then “Challah” must still betaken.  If the owner of the dough is not Jewish – then even if the bread will later be eaten by a Jewish person there is no obligation to take “Challah”.
  3. If a dough is made using corn, rice or other flours not from the five grains mentioned above the taking of “Challah’ is not required.
  4. If the dough contains a mixture of flour from the five grains and flour from other sources we follow the majority with regard to the separation of “Challah”.  Challah is taken only if the majority of the flour is from the five grains mentioned in paragraph one.
  5. The mitzvah of separation of Challah in the home is traditionally entrusted to the woman of the household – although it may be performed by any Jewish adult (see section 5 below).  It is traditional that the woman performing this mitzvah should use the occasion to invoke blessings on herfamily and others in need.