The Meaning of Each Braid

By Peter Fritz

Freshly Baked ChallahRecently, I made several braided round challahs. Some people may have wondered why. After all, it is not Rosh Hashanah. I often make round braided challahs for events like bar/bat mitzvahs, baby naming and weddings because it incorporates the spirit and life of the event. A round challah starts off looking like a tic-tac-toe grid with the two vertical and two horizontal braids of bread. Each braid represents part of the event, but there is little contact between the straight braids of dough. As I braid the bread, I think about the people that will come together for the event.  For a baby naming, one braid could be for the child, a second for the parents and family, a third for the community that is present, and a fourth for the community that welcomes and embraces the child. The meaning of each braid will incorporate the spirit of the event.  All of these elements are woven together and provide support to each other, transforming a plain grid into a circle of life. So when you see a round braided challah, think about all the important things that came together and the support that comes from the parts. It is true, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is what the Sof Ma’arav Community is all about.