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Challah Boards

A Challah board is an extraordinary tray that Jewish people use at meals during the Shabbat and other particular holiday. It is a tradition to place two covered whole loaves of bread (Challah) on the Challah board, which is typically an ornamental chopping board.

After the "Hamotzi lechem min Ha'aretz" (We give thanks to God for bread) is said, the bread is then cut into pieces, doused in salt (in recollection of the Holy Temple sacrifices) and passed around the table. Challah represents the Mahn (manna from heaven) that nourished our ancestors through the desert. During Jewish New Year it is a tradition to dip it in honey.

The Challahs placed on the Challah board are also covered with a Challah cover as we say the Kiddush. Below are two explanations on why this is done.

The first one is as a recollection of the dew, which covered the manna, both on top and under it. When God brought the Jews out of Egypt, they spent forty years in the desert going towards the Land of Israel. Their endurance on this trying time came from the God Almighty. He provided a continuous source of water and security. And for nutrient there was manna a crystal-like substance that fell from the heavens every day. The manna fell fully covered in dew. The dew was a kind of preservative, as well as insuring that the freshness was kept intact, maintaining the taste fresh and energizing. Therefore, by positioning the challah between the protective layers of the Challah board from underneath and the Challah cover on top, we raise this splendid symbolism on every meal during Shabbat.

The second reason is so as not to "shame" the Challah as we consecrate over the wine. Naturally, nonliving objects are not shamed; but we can learn a powerful lesson (Mussar Haskel) from this - if we're so cautious about not shaming the bread, and because of that we put it on a Challah board and cover it, how practically must we be cautious with other people’s feelings.

After the benediction over the Challah, the Challah cover is removed. At which point, the challah is then taken from the Challah board and circulated so that every person would be able to take a small bit off and eat it. After the Kiddush (sanctification), the leftover Challah is placed back on the challah board so that everybody could enjoy it during the meal.   

Consequently, there are Challah boards created particularly for the Shabbat table, often made of stone or olive wood. Also, a lot of boards contain slated tray for bread crumbs to fall through and to make it easy to clean.

Challah boards are excellent Jewish engagement, Jewish wedding, housewarming, holiday, or gifts for all occasions. They can also be used as a tray or plate, adding a decorative and warm element to the dinner table. It is mostly handcrafted in design and some includes a Shabbat prayer or a Hebrew word for Shabbat. The Challah boards are both usable and traditional, which makes them an ultimate personal gift.