Challah Board The Centerpiece of the Shabbat Altar

The Shabbat table is a place to eat, enjoy and gather with friends and family, but it is mostly the place where everyone can deepen his relationships with one another and cultivate their bond with judaism.

We can think about the Shabbat table as a Temple, as an altar where the above is possible through the physical and sensory experience food has to offer, through the traditional blessings and also, through the shared meaningful conversations that take place at this very special day. Each meal is an opportunity for personal and spiritual improvement, engaging our senses, but also our hearts and minds.


Challah Boards

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There are at least two ways that show the connection between the meal at our table and the altar long ago: first, we raise our hands after washing them before the meal (netilat yada’im), as the Kohanim would do before their daily service. Second, we pour salt on the bread (or on the challah board first) before eating it, also similar to the ancient practice of applying salt to every sacrifice offered in the Great Temple.

“When the Temple is standing, the altar atones for a person; now it is a person’s table that atones for him.” Talmud Hagiga 27a

Challah Cutting Board: our Tables become Altars 

In order to transform our Shabbat table into an altar, a specific setting must be placed. The emotional and intellectual preparation for such a special moment, need to be complemented with a scenery where every element contributes and has its reason to be.

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