This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
There is an obligation for both men and women to separate Challah from any dough-like batter which they make. The specifics are discussed below.
- The Mitzvah of removing Challah is only biblical in Israel and when majority of Bnei Yisrael reside in Israel. There is nonetheless a Rabbinic Mitzvah of Challah outside Israel and in Israel when Bnei Yisrael does not reside there.
- It must be stressed that the Mitzvah of Challah applies to all types of dough, not just "Challah Bread"; even dough for baking pastries can be obligated in Challah .
Conditions for Being Obligated in Challah
- Any dough made from the 5 grains is obligated in the Mitzvah of Challah.
- If the dough or a part of the dough is going to be baked one should separate Challah with a Bracha, however, if all of it is going to be cooked or fried one should separate Challah without a Bracha.
- If the dough is kneaded with eggs or fruit juice, there is some doubt as to whether one needs to separate Challah; therefore, one should knead into the dough some liquid that is considered a "משקה" [e.g. water, milk, bee's honey, wine, oil], and then one can separate Challah with a Beracha .
- Cake and cookies when made in the quantity that would obligate removing challah should have challah taken off with a bracha.
Who is Obligated?
- The Mitzvah of Challah applies to the owner of the Challah who is baking the dough, whether that is a man or a woman. However, the woman has preference over a man in fulfilling this Mitzvah as it is particularly relevant for women.
- The dough of a non-Jew is exempt from the mitzvah of hafrashas challah, even if the Jews bakes it into bread.
Amount of Dough Necessary
- According to Ashkenazim, some say that the Minhag is to remove Challah with a Bracha when making a dough with 5 pounds (2.27 kg) or more of flour and remove Challah without a Bracha when making dough with 3 pounds (1.35 kg) or more of flour. Others say that the Minhag of Yerushalyim is to take Challah off without a Bracha if the flour is 2.65 pounds (1200 grams) or more and to remove Challah with a Bracha if the flour is 3.67 pounds (1666 grams) or more.
- According to some Sephardim, one should take off Challah with a Bracha when making a dough with 3.44 pounds (1560 grams) or more of flour and it is a pious practice to remove Challah without a Bracha when making a dough with 2.65 pounds (1200 grams) or more of flour. However, some say that one should only remove Challah with a Bracha for flour that is 5.14 pounds (2332 grams) and without a Bracha for flour that is 3.67 pounds (1666 grams).
- It is forbidden to intentionally make less than the shiur challah, the minimum amount of dough which would obligate one to separate Challah. The poskim explain that this only applies if one wants to bake a large amount and is intentionally baking it in two parts separately in order to exempt oneself from the mitzvah of Challah, however, there's nothing wrong with baking a small amount if that's all one wants to bake now.
- If someone bakes Challah in order to separate them into separate loaves there is a dispute if one is obligated to take off Challah. The minhag is certainly to take off Challah. For example, if a woman kneaded and baked the shiur Challah and freezed some of the Challahs for another week there is an obligation to remove Challah at the time of the kneading.
- Similarly, some say that a person who kneads the shiur Challah and then splits it up in two parts both of which are less than the shiur Challah, and freezes one of the parts for later that there is an obligation to take Challah.
- If one makes less than the amount required in Challah in separate loaves, but then puts them back into the same vessel, the vessel combines these pieces to make a Shi'ur of Challah..
Procedure of Removing Challah
- The text of the Bracha upon removing Challah for Ashkenazim is "ברוך אתה ה, ' אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וצונו להפריש חלה". Sephardim add on the word, "תרומה".
- After reciting the above Bracha one should remove a Kezayit of dough and burn it. The Minhag is to burn the piece of dough in the same oven that the bread is baking.
- It is essential to say "Harei zu Challah" (this piece is challah) after separating the piece. This applies regardless of whether one is reciting a blessing or not..
- Sephardim in the diaspora can remove Challah and give it to a child Kohen who never saw a keri or an adult who went to mikveh and isn't a Niddah, Zava, Tumat Keri, or Zav. Even Sephardim could burn the challah in the diaspora.
Forgot to Remove Challah
- If one forgot to remove Challah Erev Shabbos: if you are outside of Israel, you leave over a slice, and separate Challah from it after Shabbos. This slice must be slightly bigger than the Shi'ur Challah.
- This is a real problem if this happens Erev Shabbos Erev Pesach.
- If Challah got cooked into other foods it makes them forbidden. If it is mixed with the same type of ingredient which is permitted everything is forbidden unless the permitted ingredient is a hundred times that amount of Challah. If it is mixed with a different type of ingredient which is permitted everything is forbidden unless the permitted ingredient is sixty times that amount of Challah.
- If a piece of challah outside Israel fell into a mixture of food that doesn't taste like the challah it is nullified in sixty. Even if one is unsure if there's sixty it is nonetheless nullified.
- If one didn't yet eat the challah it is advisable to do hatarat nedarim to undo the establishment of challah and then take another piece as challah.
- The Mitzvah of Challah is counted as one of the 613 mitzvot by the Rambam (Sefer HaMitzvot Asin #133) and Sefer HaChinuch (385).
- Derech Emunah Bikkurim 5:28 writes that you don't actually need all of the Jews and a majority is enough. He proves it from the Ritva Ketubot 25a and claims that this is the opinion of other rishonim. See however, Rav Yehuda Amichai section 8 who argues that the Rambam means all the Jews need to reside in Israel for the mitzvah to be biblical.
- Rambam (Bikkurim 5:5-6) writes that The Mitzvah of removing Challah is only biblical in Israel and when all of Bnei Yisrael reside in Israel. There is nonetheless a Rabbinic Mitzvah of Challah outside Israel and in Israel when Bnei Yisrael do not reside there.
- R. Shechter, http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/802895/Rabbi_Hershel_Schachter/Inyonei_Challah
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:1
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:6
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:7
- Minchat Shlomo 1:68 in fnt., Teshuvot Vehanhagot 1:673. This is in opposition to the opinion of the Aruch Hashulchan YD 329:6 that it is exempt if it is clearly made for a snack and not a filling type of bread.
- Mishna (Shabbat 2:6), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:8, Yalkut Yosef YD 328:12
- Shulchan Aruch YD 330:1
- Shulchan Aruch YD 324:1 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:1 write that the amount necessary in order to be obligated in Challah is 43.2 KeBaytzim of flour.Rabbi Hershel Schachter on yutorah.org (Shiur on Parshat Shalach, min 50) quotes Rav Eliyahu Yosef Henkin (Edut LeYisrael page 138) who says to remove Challah with a Bracha if the flour is 5 pounds or more and without a Bracha if the flour is 3 pounds or more. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Mesoret Moshe v. 1 p. 352 and v. 3 p. 282) agreed. Similarly, Teshuvot Vehanhagot 3:334 writes that the minhag is to take challah without a bracha for 1200 grams (2.65 pounds) and with a bracha for 2250 grams (5.3 pounds).
- Halichot Shlomo (Moadim vol 2 pg 338 note 54) writes that this was the Minhag in Rav Shlomo Zalman’s house and that of Yerushalyim. Middot Vshiurei Torah p. 232 (Rav Chaim Beinish) agrees that this is the minhag Yerushalayim to take challah with a bracha for 3.67 pounds. Shevet Halevi 11:253:3 holds that the minhag in Yerushalayim is to take challah with a bracha for 1.75kg (3.86lb) of flour. Rav Elyashiv (Haarot Pesachim 48b) also said the minhag Yerushalayim is like Rav Chaim Noeh for taking off challah with a bracha and to separate without a bracha for 1 kg. However, Steipler in Shiurin Shel Torah (5716, p. 86) writes that one should take off challah without a bracha for flour of a bit more than 1200 grams, like Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. A bracha is only recited if using more than 2.25 kg of flour, like Rav Henkin.
- Eliyah Rabba 456:1 quotes the Tosfot Yom Tov as holding that the measure to be obligated in challah is one pint in Prague. He cites that the Tzlach Pesachim 116b also quotes this Tosfot Yom Tov. Hidurei Hamiddot pp. 242-3 quotes the Middot Vmishkalot Shel Torah p. 231 who writes that the measure of sixteenth century Prague measure of a pint is 2.003L and in weight of flour that is approximately 2.3 pounds of flour (1 L of water = 1 kg; 1 kg = 2.2 lb; 1 L of water = 0.53 kg of flour).
- Magen Avraham 456:2 and Mishna Brurah 456:3 write that the shiur is 3 quarts. Hidurei Middot p. 243 cites that the Yesh Nochlin (Kavanat Tefillah n. 17, cited by Mekor Chaim OC 88:1) measured that the the Prague pint is equivalent to 3 old polish quarts. Those who quote 3 quarts: Mahari Vayil n. 193, Shach YD 324:3, Taz 606:6, Magen Avraham 456:2, Pri Megadim SD 97, Chayei Adam 128:15, Tevuot Shor (Bechor Shor Sanhedrin 93b), Bear Heitiv 88:2, Chavot Yair (Chut Hashani 97, Mekor Chaim 88:1, 456), Mishna Brurah 456:3, Maharsham (Techelet Mordechai Shabbat Hagadol n. 128), Aruch Hashulchan YD 324:3, and Eliya Rabba 456:11. Aruch Hashulchan notes that this measurement of 3 quarts is not like the Tzlach.
- Yalkut Yosef YD 324:6. Rav David Yosef and Rav Yitzchak Yosef (approbation to Hidurei Hamidot p. 78, second edition) agreed with Rav Hadar Margoliyat that the dirham of the Rambam was approximately 2.8 grams. Accordingly, the shiur challah would be 520 dirhams * (2.8 g / 1 dirham) = 1.456 kg = 3.21 lb.
- Ben Ish Hai, Halachot 2nd Year, Shemini 21 writes that the shiur of Challah is 777 dirhams or 5.14 pounds (using 3 grams per dirham). Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (comments on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:2) holds 5.29lbs and without a bracha for 3.67lbs.
- Rambam Bikkurim 6:15, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 324:14, Yalkut Yosef YD 324:7. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 324:14 writes that it is forbidden to make Challah less than the requisite amount to remove Challah in order to absolve oneself of the Mitzvah. The Gra 324:23 points out that this is based on Yerushalmi Challah 3:1 and Pesachim 48b.
- Shach 324:25 and Taz 324:17 write that someone who only has a small piece of dough is nonetheless allowed to bake it and doesn't have to worry about this prohibition since one's intention isn't absolve oneself from the mitzvah. Aruch Hashulchan 324:41 explains further that the entire prohibition is only for someone who wants to bake a shiur challah and intentionally absolves himself from the mitzvah by baking it in halves. Mishna Halachot 8:228 and 19:112 echoes this sentiment explicitly that there's nothing wrong at all with someone who only wants to bake a small amount less than the shiur Challah.
- The Yerushalmi Challah 1:5 cites Rabbi Yochanan who establishes that a woman who bakes Challah in order to separate it to other people in quantities less than the shiur Challah is not obligated to remove Challah. Rambam Bikkurim 6:19 codifies this. Although Raavad disagrees, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 326:2 accepts the Rambam. Tosfot Brachot 37b s.v. lechem quotes Rabbenu Yechiel's doubt whether there is an obligation of Challah for a woman who makes one dough that is then cut into small pieces to make noodles. Pitchei Teshuva 326:2 writes that the Bach, Perisha, and Levush hold that a woman making Challah to separate it into loaves is obligated to take off Challah. She's only exempt if she gives it other people. With this they defend the minhag of women to take off Challah even though they separate it into loaves before baking. However, the Bet Efraim YD 69 disagrees based on Tosfot above. Instead he distinguishes between someone who makes loaves that are meant to remain separate in which case they are exempt and loaves which are baked together which would be obligated in Challah. Yalkut Yosef (Otzer Dinim Lisha p. 551) writes that we can rely on the minhag and remove Challah even though the dough is separated into loaves. Aruch Hashulchan 326:16 writes that it is obvious to him that Challah must be removed from dough that is kneaded and separated into loaves as is normally done. He explains that the Tosfot Brachot isn't relevant since it is referring to cooking.
- Shach 324:25 writes that the exemption of separating dough from the obligation of Challah applies only at the time of kneading but not if one is only going to divide it once it is baked. Rabbi Heber (Kashur Kurrents Fall 2004 Section VI. 1.) writes that if a woman kneaded and bakes the shiur Challah and then freezes some Challahs for next week the dough is obligated in Challah at the time of the kneading.
- Mayan Omer v. 5 p. 116 5:1 cites Rav Ovadia Yosef that a woman who makes a dough with a shiur Challah and then separates that dough into parts that have less than a shiur Challah to be bake at separate times that she is still obligated in Challah. Yet, Otzer Piskei Challah siman 23 by R' Michael Peretz argues that one should remove Challah without a bracha. He explains that in this case one is careful that the parts don't combine and according to many achronim it is exempt since it is made to be divided.
- Mishna Challah 2:4, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:3; See Pesachim 46a-b
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:1
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:1
- Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 322:5 based on Bechorot 27a
- Ben Ish Hai, Halachot 2nd Year, Shmini 23 writes that Sephardim burn challah today. Rabbi Mansour on dailyhalacha.com agrees.
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:9
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:9
- Ran Nedarim 52a citing the Yerushalmi, Tosfot Chullin 99a s.v. ein, Rama YD 323:1 all hold that min b'sheino mino is batel one in sixty by Challah. However, the Rambam (Machalot Asurot 15:30) holds that it isn't batel unless there is one hundred even for a case of sheino mino. See Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Frankel Rambam) who asks on this Rambam.
- Maharash Engel 2:9. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 323:1 says challah of chutz laretz is batel brov and Rama says bmino 100 and eino mino 60. Rama has idea that you can be shoel on the hafrasha like any neder with a petach. The Taz 323:2 argues that you can’t be matir the neder since it is nolad and not charata mikara. One of his questions is if you can be shoel then why isn’t it a dvar sheyesh lo matirin even though it isn’t a mitzvah to be shoel (Nedarim 59a) but we say byado ltaken is dvar sheyesh lo matirin even when it isn’t a mitzvah as we follow Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 102:3 unlike Maharshal cited by Shach. Maharash Engel 2:9 answers that it is a petach but still not a dvar sheyesh lo matirin because before it was in the tarovet it didn’t have a petach and only became a dvar sheyesh lo matirin with sheyla because of a petach when it entered the tarovet. Since dvar sheyesh lo matirin doesn't apply when it wasn’t a dvar sheyesh lo matirin before it entered the tarovet this should be permitted. Then he considers that this idea only works for the Ran’s logic in dvar sheyesh lo matirin but for rashi that svara doesn’t make sense since you can still wait. Finally he concludes to be lenient because of a safek safeka. Safek there’s 60x and safek that it isn’t a dvar sheyesh lo matirin. He adds if it is 60x and it is mixed in eino mino there’s no dvar sheyesh lo matirin since it is like it doesn’t exist.
- Rama Y.D. 323:1 writes that it is permitted to undo the declaration of challah when there's a mixture without 101 to nullify the challah. Shach 323:7 explains that we don't do hatarat nedarim to undo a declaration of a mitzvah unless it is a case of extenuating circumstances (Y.D. 203:3) and this case qualifies as that. Chelkat Binyamin 323:20 quotes that the achronim accept the Rama unlike the Taz. These achronim include: Levush, Bet Meir, Chachmat Adam 14:6, Mekor Chaim 457:101, Birkei Yosef, Chatom Sofer EH 2:92, Aruch Hashulchan 323:14, Chavot Yair 130, Bet Yakov 110, Shvut Yakov 3:27, and Gra.