Coming in January: Spiritual Kneading through the Jewish Months by Dahlia Abraham-Klein
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Building the Sacred through Challah
Spiritual Kneading gives an extensive history of Rosh Chodesh and why it’s traditionally been a woman’s holiday. The connection between challah and Rosh Chodesh is further explained, as it’s the first of the month, so too challah is the first portion of dough that must be donated to the Kohen’s (Priests). The book covers all twelve months of the Jewish year, with specific Torah text for each month as well as a specific challah that relates the Torah theme to that month. Each Jewish month includes a photo of the challah as well as relevant illustrative steps to shaping the challah. Each month’s challah is unique upon itself. In addition, there is a preliminary chapter on the significance of challah, and a chapter on the idea of baking challah in someone’s merit. A point-by-point month-specific meditation guide follows, for use during the kneading of the challah. The kneading is an action meditation, best understood as the performance of commandments and rituals. The inner essence of the dough, elucidates divines in the challah and becomes a springboard to reach God. This conversation in turn is kneaded into the challah and becomes part of the spiritual wisdom transmitted to your loved ones. When commandments are seen in this light, particularly baking challah, the challah takes on a greater spiritual significance. The meditation varies from month to month, as Judaism is about always striving and reaching for higher transcendence. Each chapter then goes on to give sources, ideas, and questions to be discussed by the group while the challah is rising. The purpose of baking challah in this particular way is to develop your own personal spiritual growth within the context of a Rosh Chodesh group.