Why is it important to cover ones challah bread on Shabbat dinner? This is important because of a couple of reasons, one due to the ordered priority of foods and the other is because of the manna miracle. World of Judaica has beautiful collection if Judaica challah boards that make this possible in the most subtle and respectful way.
There are two reasons why the challah bread must be covered on Shabbat dinner; the first is because it represents the manna miracle. The manna miracle allowed for the Jewish people to survive in the desert for 40 years, each day manna would fall from the sky miraculously. This miracle allowed for their survival throughout this time of exile. On Shabbat, there would be two loaves of manna that fell from the sky, accommodating the day of rest. The manna was wrapped in layers of dew to preserve the freshness. This is recreated each Friday by placing two loaves of manna on the table, on the tablecloth or challah board and covered with a challah cover.
The second reason for covering the bread is due to the order of food. There is an order of importance placed on eight food items within the Jewish religion. The food placed in the highest order is bread. Thus the bread should always be eaten first. However, due to prayers that are said prior to Shabbat dinner, it is not possible to break the bread prior to drinking wine from a Kiddush Cup. Thus the bread is hidden under a challah cover.
World of Judaica has a beautiful selection challah boards. We believe in making every Shabbat dinner extra special, and have created a line of Shabbat goods perfectly attuned to this purpose. Don’t forget to check out our selection of Challah Knives as well.
Challah Boards Guide
The word "Challah" comes from a word that means "portion" and stems from a commandment in the Torah to portion or separate a piece of dough and give it to G-D, a practice that was upheld by Jews during the time of both Holy Temples. Today a traditional braided bread made with eggs and hailing from Germany is used by Jews from all over the world for Shabbat. Due to the importance of making Shabbat a special day, beautiful items are placed on the table.
Challah boards are made from different types of rich woods, like mahogany with touches of silver add an extra special touch of elegance. Other boards are made from wonderfully hand-painted ceramic and have a special inscription in Hebrew or English that reads "Shabbat Shalom" or "In honor of the Shabbat". Traditionally the Shabbat table is decorated with a beautiful tablecloth while the Challah has an elegant board and knife.
The Challah board has been laid and the sweet smells of Challah are in the air, now all that is needed is a special knife used to cut the bread. Since these knives are only used for this special weekly occasion, they are especially fancy featuring beautiful sterling silver or rich wood handles. Many times they will even have engravings on the handle in Hebrew as well. These engravings range from sayings such as "Shabbat Shalom" or "Remember the Shabbat and Keep it Holy".
Shabbat is a day of spiritual connection and quality time with the family especially around the dinner table. Given the holiness of the occasion, the table is typically decorated with special tablecloths typically in a white or cream as Shabbat is often referred to as a wedding for the "Bride of Shabbat". Satin and lace create a beautiful motif for tablecloths and silver embroidery add an elegant touch.
At the head of the beautifully adorned table next to the special Challah cover is the Kiddush cup. In keeping with the festive feeling of Shabbat a special cup is used to bless the wine or have Kiddush. These beautiful pieces can range from sterling silver to hand-painted ceramics. The beautiful cups or goblets are often engraved with beautiful scenes of the Holy City of Jerusalem or beautiful Hebrew inscriptions. These cups also come in pewter and nickel and feature a special matching dish which usually has a part of the blessing written in Hebrew encircling an edge with grape clusters added for more decoration.