how to write a how to paper writing rhetorical analysis essay quality of life research paper pay someone to write my college essay dissertation support services

Women and Dough

“For three transgressions women die in childbirth: for being careless regarding [the laws of] menstruation, the tithe from dough, and kindling the [Sabbath and festival] light.”– Bameh Madlikin / Mishnah Six

I do not personally feel bound to the traditional understanding of challah as a woman’s commandment. It bucks against my general inclination towards egalitarianism, and it also seems wildly superstitious to blame death in childbirth on neglecting to tithe a small piece of dough.

That said, I do feel connected to a community of Jewish women who, over centuries and changing contexts, so lovingly and carefully followed the commandment of making challah each week. I love the softness of swollen dough between my floured fingers. I love punching it down on Friday afternoon and releasing a heady mixture of yeast and sugar into my kitchen. I love braiding the stretchy strands and pulling two egg-browned loaves from the oven. I love that first fragrant breath of Shabbat. Throughout this process I merge with these women. I intuit the way they worked their weekly frustrations out in the dough, braided their secrets into its folds, and infused it with the sweetness of their wishes.
Challah!

So although I purchase pre-baked challah more often than I make it, and cheer when my friend Avi brings his beautiful, seeded challot to a Shabbat potluck, I think Challah continues to be a binding force for women across Jewish tradition – as rich and complex as the dough itself.

–Leah Koenig