Challah is separated from dough made out of flour derived from the five
species of grain: wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats. Rice, corn, soy flour
and potato starch are exempt.
When flour is mixed with any amount of water, or with olive oil, wine,
grape juice, milk or bee’s honey, requires challah separation with a
blessing. Flour mixed with fruit juice or with eggs only, requires hafrashas
challah without a blessing.
Challah is separated not only when baking bread but when baking other items
as well. The following rules apply:
Thick dough from which cake or cookies will be baked requires challah
separation, with a blessing, in the same way that bread dough requires
challah separation, as detailed in last week’s article. [Other ingredients
do not count towards the minimum amount of flour.]
Thick dough which will be fried or cooked requires hafrashas challah
without a blessing.
A liquid batter which will be fried or cooked is exempt from challah. If
it will be baked, it requires hafrashas challah with a blessing.
Disposing of the challah
The designated piece should be burned until it is no longer edible. The
ashes may then be discarded. Flushing the designated piece of challah down a
toilet or tossing it in a river is not the same as burning it and should be
avoided. Under extenuating circumstances, when the challah cannot be
burned, some poskim permit carefully wrapping the challah in a bag and
throwing it in the garbage. [In such a case, less than a k’zayis should
be separated.] It is prohibited to feed it to one’s pet or to derive any
benefit from it.
The piece of challah that was separated is forbidden to be eaten. In
effect, it is a non-kosher food. Care should be taken that it does not touch
the rest of the baked goods, either in or out of the oven. [For this reason
it is not recommended to remove the designated piece of challah with a fork
or a knife. Since dough tends to stick, some crumbs may remain on the
utensil and possibly render it – or other dishes washed along with it –
non-kosher when washed with hot water later on.]
If the challah is burned inside the oven [in which other items are being
baked] it should be left tightly wrapped in silver foil so that steam from
the non-kosher challah does not penetrate the oven walls. B’diavad, however,
if it was not wrapped, the oven does not become non-kosher and does not need
to undergo a koshering process. If, however, the challah comes into
physical contact with the other baked goods while they are in the oven, the
baked goods may become non-kosher. A rabbi must be consulted.
Challah separation: special situations
Question: While sitting at the Shabbos table, a woman realizes that she
forgot to separate challah from her challah loaves. What should she do?
Discussion: It is prohibited to separate challah on Shabbos or Yom Tov
unless the dough was made on Yom Tov. Accordingly, there is nothing
that can be done and the challah loaves may not be eaten. [If she
realizes her oversight during bein ha-shemashos, and neither she nor the
shul where her husband is davening has recited kabbalas Shabbos, she may
still separate challah (even if she has already lit Shabbos candles), as
long as the family has no other challah loaves for Shabbos. ]
If this oversight occurred outside of Eretz Yisrael, however, the
challah loaves could be eaten so long as the lady intends to separate
challah after Shabbos from whatever will remain of the challah loaves she
had baked. She must follow this procedure:
1. She must make sure that a small piece [e.g., one slice] remains from the
loaves the she had baked;
2. She must separate, with a blessing, a piece from that remaining
slice after Shabbos or Yom Tov is over. That piece is then burned like
any other separated challah.
Question: What can be done if after being separated the designated piece of
challah – regardless of whether a blessing was recited or not – gets mixed
in with the rest of the dough?
Discussion: If the designated piece of challah is mixed in with dough which
is 101 times greater in volume than the designated piece, then the entire
dough may be baked and eaten.
If the dough is not 101 times bigger than the designated piece, the dough
may still be eaten – but only after the challah piece, which is forbidden to
eat, is “removed” from the dough. This is done by halachically annulling the
piece of challah so that the dough no longer contains the forbidden challah
piece. The woman [or her husband ] recites the following in the presence
of a beis din of any three adult males : “I regret that I designated
that piece of dough as challah, and had I known that I would regret it, I
would not have designated it for challah.” The beis din can then repeal
her designation as they do with any other vow. Another piece of dough,
with another blessing, is then separated for challah.
The same procedure would apply if the woman realized after baking her
challah loaves that she mistakenly baked the designated piece of challah
with them, or if somehow the designated piece of dough got mixed up with any
Outside of Eretz Yisrael this procedure may be followed on Shabbos or Yom
Tov as well, when necessary.
1. Mishnah Berurah 158:15.
2. Pischei Teshuvah, Y.D. 329:2; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:7; Aruch
ha-Shulchan 329:3; Derech Emunah, Bikkurim 6, Tziyun ha-Halachah 182. For a
dissenting opinion, see Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 58.
3. Shach, Y.D. 329:9. In practice, however, dough of 10 cups of flour or
more should not be prepared unless it contains either water, wine, olive
oil, milk or bee’s honey.
8. Rama, Y.D. 322:5. A kohen, however, may derive benefit from it while
burning it; Rama, Y.D. 331:19.
9. Since dough, generally, is not liquid and hardly emits steam. Even if
it will, it is negligible.
10. See Leket ha-Omer 14, note 3. When the hot, burned piece of challah is
removed from the oven, it should definitely not be removed with a utensil.
11. Mishnah Berurah 339:26. B’diavad, if she mistakenly separated challah
on Shabbos or Yom Tov, the food may be eaten. If, however, she was aware
that it was forbidden to do so and she did so anyway, the food is forbidden
to be eaten; Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 339:26.
12. If the dough was prepared on Yom Tov, challah is separated with a
blessing but the dough is not burned until after Yom Tov is over. Once the
piece is set aside, it may no longer be moved, since it is muktzeh; Mishnah
13. If this occurred on the first night of Pesach or Succos when it is a
Biblical obligation to eat a k’zayis of matzah or bread, a solution can be
found. A rabbi must be consulted.
14. A possible solution is to prepare on Yom Tov another batch of dough
and then separate challah from the new dough for both. See Rama, O.C. 506:3
and Mishnah Berurah for the details.
15. Mishnah Berurah 261:4 and 261:28. Outside of Eretz Yisrael, though,
this should not be done, since in the Diaspora it is permitted to separate
challah after Shabbos, as detailed in the next paragraph.
16. If the item was baked in Eretz Yisrael but is now outside of it, e.g.,
matzos, a rabbi should be consulted; see Cheishev ha-Eifod 2:43.
17. Rama, O.C. 506:3.
18. Beis Meir, O.C. 457:7; Aruch ha-Shulchan, Y.D. 323:9. Rav S.Z. Auerbach
(quoted in Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 42, note 57) disagrees and rules
that no blessing is recited over this type of separation.
19. Rama, Y.D. 323:1. If she forgot to separate challah from more than one
dough, she must follow the same procedure with each dough.
20. Rama, Y.D. 323:1.
21. Aruch ha-Shulchan 323:14.
22. While her husband may not be one of the three, her children, her
father, and other relatives may; Y.D.
23. This action does not render the original blessing made on this
hafrashas challah as a berachah l’vatalah; Chasam Sofer, Y.D. 320 and 353.
24. Rama, Y.D. 323:1. While Taz 323:2 disagrees with this procedure, most
poskim concur with the Rama’s ruling; see Chochmas Adam (Sha’arei Tzedek
14:6); Pischei Teshuvah 323:3; Aruch ha-Shulchan 323:14.
25. Derech Emunah, Terumos 4:184.
26. Sha’arei Teshuvah, O.C. 341:1. See Shevus Yaakov 3:27.