Challah Bake International

Daily Inspiration

Marching To Victory

A word from the desk of Dina Gourarie.
Shlucha: Sydney, Australia

The Rebbe Rayatz taught that when an army prepares to go out to war, the soldiers are instructed to depart for the campaign with joy; marching with a spirit of victory despite uncertainty regarding the outcome of the battle. By doing this, the Rebbe explained, the “victory march” itself actualizes the potential for victory.

On the 15th of Av, in kitchens worldwide, we will feel the rhythm and hear the beat of women baking challah with Simcha (joy) and Bitachon (faith). May this initiative, undertaken with sincere Emunah (belief), manifest Shidduchim for all.

Adapted from: Sefer Simcha U’bitachon B’Hashem pgs.139-140

Confidence in Hashem

A word from the desk of Dina Gourarie ,
Shlucha: Sydney Australia

The source for the mitzvah of blessing two challahs on Shabbos is taken from the double portion of Mon (Manna) that fell on Friday, Erev Shabbos in the dessert.

Va’Yikrah Beis Yisroel Es Sh’mo Mon…(The House of Israel called it manna…)
The term House of Israel, refers to the women, who represent the anchor of the Jewish family and are associated with the concept of a home. It was therefore the women who called this substance Mon (Manna) food received from G-d as a gift.

The Midrash explains that the gift of the manna had awakened in the Jewish people a spirit of confidence in Hashem, and a calm assurance for the future. Maintaining these ideals depended primarily on the women. It is therefore very significant that the women were the first ones to designate and name the manna as the providential gift from Hashem (Rabbi S. R. Hirsch)

Through the baking of our Challah, may we too express unconditional confidence in Hashem and calm assurance for the future.

On Faith

From the Desk of Dina Gourarie,
Shlucha: Sydney Australia

The entirety of the Jewish nation are “Ma’aminim B’nei Ma’aminim” – believers and children of believers.

Woven into the fabric of our souls and intellect is the belief that G-d rules the world and is “Tachlis Hatov V’Ha’tov Atzmo” – the essence of good and good itself!

The Rebbe Rayatz taught in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that
G-d’s love for us is compared to that of a father to an only son; indeed, His love is actually infinitely greater than we can conceptualize.

However, even though we may know this intellectually, when faced with adversity or challenge we may still experience distress or worry. But, we are promised that if we internalize this faith deeply and emotionally in our hearts, then G-d will respond “midah k’neged midah” – in kind, resulting in full comprehension that the “concealed good” will be recognized in a “revealed” and tangible manner.

Challah Bake International 2018 – a time of unity and belief in G-d’s ultimate goodness – with Simcha, creating a heartfelt opportunity to experience G-d’s revealed blessings from His open and generous hand!

Adapted from Igros Kodesh, Volume 4, p.g. 220

Three Week Inspiration

From the Desk of Chana Labkowski
Shlucha: S. Paulo, Brazil

The Prophet Yirmiyahu refers to the period of the “Three Weeks” by saying: “Makel Shoked Ani Roeh (I envision an Almond branch)”.

The almond is a fruit which ripens quickly over the course of 21 days (3 weeks). The nature of an almond is that although it starts out bitter, it matures into a sweet nut. The function of the 21 days is to change the almond from bitter to sweet, similarly, our mission is to transform the Golus (Exile) from “bitter” to sweet.

The Navi did not actually see a blooming almond branch rather just a plain stick. The vision the Navi saw had to be interpreted. In the same way we need to persevere through the concealment of this exile.

There are two types of almond branches: one is soft and moist, attached to its roots while the second kind has been uprooted, dried out and has become a strong stick.

Hashem’s message to Yirmiyahu: Even though we Jews have been uprooted from our source, this in and of itself gives us the capability and strength to blossom like the almond branch and usher in the final redemption!

An Opportunity for Transformation

From the Desk of Chana Labkowski,
Shlucha: S. Paulo, Brazil

The three feminine Mitzvos are transformational in nature.

By lighting Shabbos candles, a woman transforms the mundane workweek into Shabbos by ushering holiness into her home.

By baking Challah or more specifically “taking” Challah which, in the time of the Beis Hamikdash was given to the Cohen, a woman transforms the dough into something both kosher and holy.

By fulfilling the laws of Family Purity, a woman sanctifies her marriage and transforms her entire family, in a positive holy way for generations.

Therefore, when performing these three Mitzvos we are encouraged to use this transformational energy as an “Eis Ratzon” (auspicious time) by davening to Hashem for anything related to children, sustenance or health. Most importantly we beseech Hashem for the biggest transformation of all: Golus to Geulah - exile to redemption!

A Day Filled with Simcha

From the Desk of Dina Gourarie,
Shlucha: Sydney Australia

Imagine that even before YOU wake up the Abeshter (Creator) shifts His Worldy attention to hover at the foot of YOUR bed.

Imagine that He gazes upon you, filled with the same pleasure a father derives from watching over his slumbering child.

Imagine that you wake up and internalize this encounter. It fills you with excitement and you immediately respond with an affirmation that Hashem is the Creator of the world by reciting Mode Ani.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches us that this actually happens every morning!! Not only can we tap into the Simcha (joy) this generates, drawing from and building from this daily event, but we can be assured that throughout our entire day Shivisi Hashem L’negdi Samid (I place G-D before me constantly), supporting and guiding us.

Internalizing this knowledge imbues us with the ability to navigate through life’s challenges with continued Simcha (joy). This joy not only affects us and the life we choose to lead, it also influences everyone we meet.

Something to think about when we need an extra boost!

Adapted from Sefer Simcha U’bitachon B’Hashem pg.64 (Sichas quoted from the Lubavitcher Rebbe)

Living a Miraculous Life

From the Desk of Chana Labkowski,
Shlucha: S. Paola, Brazil

Hashem(G-D) relates to this world through the laws of nature as well as by creating miracles. When an event occurs according to the rules of nature, following cause and effect, Hashem uses the attribute of Justice (Midas Hadin). A miracle happens when Hashem goes beyond the rules of nature and has pity on His creations, using the attribute of Mercy (Midas Harachamim).

When we limit the performance of Mitzvos (good deeds) to our “Teva (nature)”, because it’s something we like to do (some people have a kind and generous personality or they may enjoy visiting the sick), Hashem responds in kind.

However, when we extend the performance of Mitzvos over and above our comfort zone, reaching further than our “Teva”, observing the Mitvos with attention to detail, just because Hashem “said so”, Hashem reciprocates! He gives us tremendous Siyata Dishmaya ( Divine assistance) and great miracles occur beyond the constraints of nature.

Choose something that is beyond your comfort zone and watch the miracles unfold!

The Power of Prayer

From the Desk of Chana Labkowski,
Shlucha: S. Paulo, Brazil

The prophetess Chana serves as one of the most inspiring role models regarding prayer. Setting aside her personal desires, she entreats Hashem to bless her with a child, who can be consecrated to serve the Al-mighty. Chana’s supplications were offered in silent prayer from the heart. In response to the Kohen Gadol’s inquiry into what she was doing, Chana replied: “va’eshpoch es nafshi lifnei Hashem” – explaining that she was pouring out her heart to Hashem.

Chana united her soul with Hashem, affirming that Hashem’s will would guide her. Her desire for a child now became a desire for that child to be dedicated to G-d’s will. Chana was thus able to effect a change in Hashem’s will, creating a new reality that resulted in the birth of a son, who grew to become the great prophet, Shmuel.

Whatever our needs are, through prayer we are able to create change – provided the intention is for the sake of Heaven. That is why we recite the words “Yehi Ratzon…” – May it be Your will Hashem, even if it wasn’t previously destined to be.

Letting go

A word from the desk of Dina Gourarie ,
Shlucha, Sydney Australia

Letting go...

A weary man trudges along carrying a heaving sack.
A kind wagon driver offers him a ride.
Grateful, the man climbs on to the wagon.
He sits bent over, his bag on his lap.
The wagon-driver turns to him and asks:
“Why don’t you rest your sack on the wagon floor, so that it can relieve you of your heavy burden”?
To which the man replies: “I’ve troubled you enough, how can I possibly let go of my burden and impose on you further”?
(parable from the Dubno Magid)

The Dubnor Maggid used this parable to explain the wisdom of Dovid Ha’Melech(Tehillim 55;23):

Hashleich Al Hashem Yehovcho – Cast your burden upon Hashem, and He will sustain you.
Our burdens and worries may be many, but Hashem has infinite resources – let go and let Him carry both you and your troubles.

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