Spiritual Kneading through the Jewish Months: Building the Sacred through Challah (Paperback)
With Rosh Chodesh (Jewish New Month) traditionally being a woman's holiday, it is a natural time for women to gather together and be active participants in their heritage. Members of a Spiritual Kneading group using this book will enhance their spiritual growth via the tradition of challah baking while meditating upon the Jewish theme of the month. Chatting, kneading, meditating and Torah study: women united in a wave of baking and braiding throughout the world. The Introduction of the book 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 a specific Torah study for each month. Each Jewish month includes a photo of the challah as well as relevant illustrative steps to shaping the challah. The challah shape and the symbolic character of the ingredients incorporate the theme of the Jewish month. Each month's challah is unique upon itself. Just as one expresses their individuality with the way they dress, so one can express themselves in the creation of their challah. It is similar to a pottery class, with the challah being the clay you shape expressing who you are. 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. In essence, this is palatable Torah.