January/February 2012 – A Messianic Midrash From Baking Challah
Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 28, Number 3 January/February 2012
**Adult Bnai Mitzvah class “Jewish History”, Jan.3
**Tu B’shvat Hike, Feb.12
**Marty Goetz concert, March 3
A Messianic Midrash From Baking Challah
by Debbie Ravid (a former KA member now living in Monterey, CA)
I have been honored with the opportunity to bake the challah (bread) for
Shabbat services at Sar Shalom on and off for many years. It has always been
a blessing but a routine Friday afternoon task, nonetheless. However, one
Friday afternoon something special happened that would change the way I feel
about baking challah forever. In my Jewish cookbook, along with the challah
recipe, there is a notation about saying a b’racha (blessing) and observing
a ritual involving burning a portion of raw dough. I have used the same book
for ten years and I have seen the blessing; and for ten years I have ignored
it. I figured, “I am not that religious. Doing this blessing and ritual is
for others, not me. I’d feel silly doing that!” But the Lord put on my
heart, “Say the blessing and burn the dough, say the blessing and burn the
dough.” So on this very special Friday, I decided that I would have
This is the procedure. After the leaven and other ingredients have been
combined in a certain order, the dough is kneaded and allowed to rise once.
It is then punched down and the dough is to be divided in half. It is
traditional to make two loaves of challah for Shabbat to celebrate the
double portion of manna given to the Jews in the wilderness just before each
Shabbat. (Exodus 16:29) After dividing the dough but before the second
rising period and the braiding and the baking, a small portion of the dough
is to be pinched from one of the two portions and, according to tradition
(Number 15:17-21), this benediction is to be pronounced (English
translation); “Blessed art thou, oh Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who
has sanctified us by thy commandments and commanded us concerning the
separation of the dough.”
As I said the blessing, I took the dough and put it on a bamboo shish kebab
skewer, turned on the stove and held it in the flame. All of a sudden it was
as if I had seen a movie, the entire picture came to me in a flood of words
and images. I instantly understood why He commanded me to do this and why He
commanded this to be done for thousands of years! I wasn’t just making
challah! I was seeing a picture of life and salvation! Here is what He
revealed to me.
Making and kneading the dough represent the time we are in our embryonic and
infant stage, being knitted together and taking shape (Genesis 2:7, Psalm
139:13-16). Carefully allowing it to rise in a warm place without any sudden
jarring movements is like our childhood; growing and being lovingly nurtured
by those who care for us. Separating the dough into two portions, is like
passing from the point where we are not responsible for sin to a point in
our life where we are responsible for our sin (Ezekiel 18). Pinching off
that small piece of dough and holding it up represents sin being recognized
by both man and G-d. It is held up high for all to see. It will not be
hidden and cannot be denied. (Luke 8:17) Putting the dough in fire kills all
the leaven (sin) and is like our sin being utterly destroyed, that is
forgiven and forgotten through Yeshua (1 John 1:9). The loaves are now
allowed to rise one more time. This second rising period is called
‘proofing’. This is when they “show their stuff, show what they’re made of,
prove themselves.” This represents our walk with G-d, our lives. We show
what we are made of. Our works, the proof of our faith (James 2:14-26).
Baking the challah is like being in the furnace of affliction; it is a
testing. It is a trial and tribulation, like life itself. Ah!, but while the
challah is in the oven what a delicious aroma fills the home (and my part of
the neighborhood!). What other aroma on Earth is as good as bread in the
oven? Messiah’s life is a blessing to G-d, a pleasing aroma in His nostrils
(Ephesians 5:2). Now the challah is ready to take its rightful place on the
table, in full view of all, as an acceptable offering to our Heavenly
Father. What about our lives? Give it some thought next Shabbat.
“But thanks be to G-d, who always leads us in His triumph in Messiah and
manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every
place.” (II Corinthians 2:14)
Jan 3 Tuesday, 7:00-8:30pm. ”Jewish History” course at the Messianic Jewish
Institute of San Diego. This 13-week course at KA is an overview from
Talmud to modern Israel. A required class for our adult Bnai Mitzvah
ceremony in May. $60 per person plus book fee. Raise the bar on your
Jewish education and come out for a great time of learning.
Jan 28 Saturday, 10:30 am. Rob Styler Drama Program. This talented actor
will present a special Shabbat program with creative spiritual lessons.
Invite a friend who enjoys the arts.
Feb 4 Saturday, 1:15 pm. KA Congregational Meeting following Shabbat
Service. We will receive various reports from the committees and approve our
2012 budget. Make it a priority to attend. Youth hosted Oneg luncheon.
Feb 11 Saturday, 9:00-10:00am. Youth Confirmation Class. This 14-week
course is designed for high school students as a follow up to their bar/bat
mitzvah. Topics covered are Jewish history, culture and messianic life. No
fee. Taught by Rabbi Kasdan so talk to him about more information.
Feb 12 Sunday, 9:00am-noon. Tu B’shvat Family Hike at Torrey Pines State
Park. All are invited to meet at the KA parking lot at 8:30am if you want to
carpool. Bring water and a nosh as we celebrate the Torah holiday for trees.
3-mile hike starts from the Visitor Center in the park. $10 parking per
Feb 17-19 MJAA Southwest Regional Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in
Irvine, CA. Worship services, seminars by many outstanding teachers
(including our own Rabbi Barney). Also concerts by Cory Bell and Paul
Wilbur. More information at <http://messianicconferences.
Mar 3 Saturday, 7:30 pm. Free Concert with messianic recording artist Marty
Goetz. Invite your friends to this wonderful evening of music and
inspiration. Love offering received.
Mar 8, Thursday, 7pm Purim Celebration. Come dressed in costume as we
celebrate the story of Esther. There will be a reading of the megillah and
joyful music as we remember God’s faithfulness to our people.
Shabbat Morning Services: at 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., in Clairemont,
Saturday, 10:30am. Join us for this uplifting time of worship, fellowship
and study. Our current sermon series is “Zechariah-God Remembers” which is a
chapter by chapter study of this amazing prophet from the Tenakh.
Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the
service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 2 through High
School which include a Bible lesson plus background on Jewish studies and
Dance Ministry: Beginning Dance workshop is held every Shabbat,
10:00-10:25am in the upstairs classroom area. All welcome to learn!
Tuesday Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego: Corporate
prayer from 6:30-7:00 as we lift up Israel and the needs of our synagogue.
Class from 7:00-8:30. Current class: ”Jewish History from Talmud to Modern
Israel”.Taught by Rabbi Kasdan. $60 fee per student (plus book fee) for
this 13-week course. The MJISD classes can lead to a certificate of
Messianic Jewish Studies. Call our office for further information.
“A Taste of Torah” Classes: Saturday 9:00-10:00am. This survey of the Torah
class will take you through the Parsha in one year. Currently in
B’reisheet/Genesis. A great way to learn the foundations of our faith!
There is also a Spanish Torah Study at this same time. Contact Gabe Pacheco
or Luciano Rivera for info.
All men are invited to this Monday evening group (2nd and 4th at KA) for
connecting, dialogue and encouragement on vital issues that we deal with
today. Always some good discussion and study along with service projects
for men to be involved with. Also a group meets every Wednesday 5am.
Contact Frank Rosas or Rome Remigio for more information.
This dynamic group of women meets monthly for study, friendship and service.
Call the KA office for the latest info on the next luncheon and meeting.
All women are welcome!
Board of Directors
Barney Kasdan, Rome Remigio, Frank Rosas Luis Garabay, Patty
Kolb, Tovik Liberman, Laurie Herlickman, Bob Haas
Audio: Gabe Pacheco CD
Duplication: David Stephens
Dance: Diana Martin
Facilities: Jim Scarborough
International: Eddie & Yrena Niewald Music: Eric &
Office: Jan Folb
Oneg: Maria Montelongo
Prayer: Patty Kolb
Resource Center: Alice Hoover
Singles: Bob and Jeannette Haas
Translation: Paty Garibay
Ushers: Elisabeth Sant’ana
Website: Rome Remigio
Youth/Education: Michael & Jeannie Stinton
Havurot/Small Groups (connect with the community!)
Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, every Fri, 6:30 pm. Cover dish.
Men’s Club, Rome Remigio every Wed, 5:00 am or 2nd and 4th Mondays at KA
Encinitas, Michael & Jan Folb, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Carlsbad, Eddie & Yrena Niewald, 1st & 3rd Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Bay Park, Mike and Sylvia Ferson, every Thurs. 10 am.
Yachad (Singles Fellowship), Bob & Jeannette Haas, Various events planned.
Espanol, Luciano Rivera, Shabbat 4pm-sunset at KA upstairs. Potluck
Tijuana, Yisrael and Aviva Vazquez, 1sr & 3rd Weds plus last Friday, 7pm.
Sisterhood, monthly meeting.
Contact the KA office for more details and contact information.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements of Rabbi Barney Kasdan:
Sunday, Feb.19 at the MJAA Southwest Conference in Irvine. ”Matthew
Presents Yeshua, King Messiah”
If you would like to send a special love gift donation for our work within
the Jewish community, please send it to:
P.O. Box 178755
San Diego, CA 92177
Thank you! And may God return a special blessing to you as you bless our
people! (Genesis 12:3)
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