Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Covering challah for kiddush on individual tables at a large meal


Traditionally, we cover challah while kiddush is recited, for at least these three reasons:
1. Technically, the berachah on bread should precede the berachah on wine/grape juice, and we are leapfrogging the bread inappropriately. Therefore, we cover the bread so that it is not in front of us for kiddush. [This is tied to the idea of not "shaming" the bread by having it see the recitation of kiddush.]

2. The two loaves of bread at our Shabbat meals commemorate the manna which fell for our ancestors in the wilderness, and that manna was covered, above and below, by layers of dew. [The layer above is mentioned in Shemot 16:13; the layer below is mentioned in Bamidbar 11:9.] Therefore, we place the challah on a plate or napkin, and cover it.

3. It is considered respectful of Shabbat to wait for kiddush before bringing out the food.

Even if kiddush is recited in another part of the room, with everyone else listening and responding Amen, the bread should still be covered. Reasons 2 and 3 clearly apply. One may contend that Reason 1 applies as well, since they could have recived kiddush on their challah and they chose not to do so.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:200)

Hoping for better news from Israel,

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