Dividing Challa

It is well known that there is a minimum quantity of dough that must be mixed to obligate the separation of Challa, especially with a Beracha. It is somewhat less publicized that if one created a sufficient amount but with the intent to divide it into smaller portions for distribution, the quantity intended to be sent away does not count towards this threshold and the loaves intended for different individuals cannot be combined to reach the minimal quantity. Recently, much effort has been made to increase awareness of this Halacha, albeit leading to some misunderstandings.

 

I have frequently been asked different variations of essentially the same question.

“I bake 5 pounds of Challa each week in order to say a Beracha, but my immediate family cannot eat all this in a single week so we send loaves to parents/married children/neighbors etc. Is this a correct thing to do?”

“I run a Gan where the children every Thursday receive a portion of dough from a single batch to craft their individual loaves to bring home for Shabbos. Should I be taking Challa from this dough?”

“I bake a large quantity of bulkelach/danishes to give out for Mishloach Manos each year. Can I take Challa with a Beracha?”

 

The answer to all of these questions is a qualified “Yes”.

While it is true that the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 326:2 states that an average person who kneads a Shiur of dough but intends to divide it up among a number of people, each of whom will receive less than a Shiur, should not separate Challa; he is describing a situation where it is being divided prior to baking. The Shach and Taz there both confirm that this distinction is exclusive, and bread divided after the baking is not included in this Halacha.

Apparently, it was not uncommon for women to purchase dough to bake at home. When a large quantity of dough is mixed commercially or otherwise, but not intended to be baked together, it does not require Hafrashas Challa. Nevertheless, if all the dough will be baked in the same house and only subsequently divided up and distributed among various individuals, Challa must be taken by the baker. This is generally our situation.

 

Therefore, in all of the cases above, since a sufficient quantity was mixed simultaneously and it will all be baked at the same general time, it requires Hafrashas Challa with a Beracha.

5 thoughts on “Dividing Challa

    • An excellent point.
      The Pischei Teshuva 326§2 quotes a dispute among the Achronim whether a dough intended to be split prior to baking is only exempt from Challa when it is divided among various individuals or even when it remains in the possession of a single person but is intended to be baked at separate times.
      The Shmiras Shabbos k’Hilchaso 42 footnote 45 concludes that since there is significant doubt in this regard, one should certainly take Challa, but without a Beracha. He quotes HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zatzal as concurring with this ruling.
      However, HaRav Vozner shlita is cited in Kovetz mi’Beis Levi vol 5 pg. 36 as concluding that one may make a Beracha.
      I would personally suggest not saying the Beracha.

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