Home » JCentral

What’s With The Salt

Submitted by

At every Shabbat meal, the blessing of Ha’mo’tzee (the blessing over bread) is recited over two complete loaves of bread. This ‘bread’ is usually the braided loaves known as challot, but any type of bread is acceptable as long as it is uncut and unbroken.

There are actually several steps involved in this formal ‘breaking of bread.’ The challah is covered by a cloth until everyone is ready (see
JewishTreats:Covering The Challah
). The person making the blessing over the challah then makes a gentle knife mark on the challah that will be cut first, raises both challot and recites the blessing. The marked challah is then cut, dipped in or sprinkled with salt (just a pinch) and distributed to everyone at the table.

The challah is dipped into salt to commemorate the sacrifices offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, which always contained salt. Although the Temple no longer stands, the salt reminds us that our table is like the altar of old, as the sages attest in Berachot 55a: ‘…as long as the Temple stood, the altar atoned for Israel, but now a man’s table atones for him.’ With every offering brought to Temple, a salt offering was also prepared (Leviticus 2:13: And you will season every meal-offering with salt; neither shall you suffer the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your meal-offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.) to commemorate the eternal covenant with God, which, like salt, never spoils.

While many people know and are familiar with the rules of dipping one’s bread in salt on Shabbat, the law actually applies to any time one has a meal with bread.

Break bread and share the salt with your friends and neighbors at Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada – March 5, 2010. Find out more!

Email this post Email this post
Bookmark and Share

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

7 + = 9

Jmag Search
Search now! »
Please enter a zip code.


  • In honor of Passover, whom do you identify with most?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...