Rebbetzin Devorah Kigel presented the second part of a two-part virtual series on the mystical connection between financial success and challah, hosted by Emet Outreach. Rebbetzin Kigel taught that the woman creates the physical place connected to Hashem. Baking challah is opening gates of blessing. “Shabbos is the soul of the week. Baking challah is not just baking bread. It’s much more. It symbolizes the unification of our two worlds: the physical and the spiritual.” The word challah has the root of chol, which means regular or every day. When we bake challah, we are in essence raising up the weekday – the chol – and making it holy. She shared that a holy, righteous life is made up of little moments.
The Mishnah B’rurah teaches that baking challah honors Shabbos and brings brachah into the house for the entire week. She referenced the first part of this lecture, where she shared her personal story of financial struggles. She said that she didn’t bake challah for eight years, and that was the time they were struggling financially. The Shabbos after Pesach, it is customary to bake a key into the challah or bake challah shaped like a key to symbolize that Hashem holds the key to parnasah. It is a reminder to pray to Hashem for parnasah. “The biggest s’gulah for parnasah is shalom bayis. It enables brachah to come into the home.” She imparted that she baked challah with a key in it, and within a year her husband had a job with Emet Outreach. She now bakes challah every other week and freezes the extra. She shared that she sprinkles cinnamon on the bottom of the pan and the whole house smells like cinnamon. She added a practical tip: She shared that she uses a Bosch Universal mixer for baking challah.
She explained that through the woman relying on her husband for parnasah, Torah learning, and davening, Hashem blesses him. Chazal teach that if the wife puts her trust in her husband, then Hashem will bless him. She elaborated that this comes from the sense of humility that we lack something. When a couple marries, their mazal changes. Two neshamos become one. This is why we recite vidui before marriage: so we start with a clean slate.
The man is referred to as a conduit through parnasah. The brachah for parnasah is based on the wife’s merit. “A man must be careful to honor his wife in order to become wealthy.” Avraham told Sarah, “Pharaoh will give me wealth on account of you.”
Rebbetzin Kigel taught a quote from Rav Chaim Vital that 99 percent of a man’s reward in Olam HaBa is determined by what his wife thinks of him. “A person’s success by Jewish standards is measured by his relationship with his wife.” She added that many shalom bayis problems come from money. She pointed out that if children are fighting, a parent punishes everyone. If the parent sees the children are getting along, then they reward them. We are Hashem’s children. When Hashem sees a couple getting along as a team, then Hashem rewards them.
“If the husband feels accepted and admired by his wife, then he will live up to that image.” She said that it’s important to ask your husband’s advice and opinion more frequently.
“Do not express your anxiety about finances to your husband. Be cautious and sensitive. This is a sensitive area for him.” We have to remind our husband and ourselves that Hashem is in charge of money. She has to build up her husband’s emunah.
Hashem blesses the couple as a unit on Rosh HaShanah. You are blessed with how much you will make for the entire year. She then explained how the physical process of baking challah teaches about being wise. The ingredients symbolize various things. The water represents Torah. Salt represents the yeitzer ha’ra, so you pour a tiny bit of the salt back. The honey and sugar represent sweetness in life.
When you separate the portion from the challah, you take approximately one ounce. You double-wrap it and burn it or throw it out. You need at least four pounds to say the brachah. You recite the brachah before separating into loaves. You hold up the challah and say this is challah. It’s the moment to daven for everything you need. Hashem should bless all of us and klal Yisrael with sweetness, good health, and parnasah.
By Susie Garber