Oct 22, 2011
I still remember discovering (just after we got engaged) that my wife’s mother was a professional caterer. “That’s it” I thought – “my wife’s bound to be a great cook”; and she is. Imagine our surprise when not long after we were married and she made home baked challah that not only did they not rise but their density challenged the laws of physics. This happened a several times over the following weeks, in fact every time she tried to bake challah – they just did not rise. We asked her sister (from whom she got the recipe) if she had ever had this challenge, and were told, “No, they always come out fine”.
The mystery deepened. Whenever my wife or her sister baked the challah at her sister’s flat they came out beautifully; when they baked the challah at our flat – well let’s put it this way – they wouldn’t float.
If in doubt – follow that age-old Jewish axiom – ask the Rabbi; so I did and he responded on a practical level – “Don’t worry – it’s probably to do with the temperature of the oven.” I couldn’t understand this (bread normally rises before it goes into the oven) so I asked another Rabbi who also responded on a practical level: “It’s probably to do with the temperature of the water that’s added to the dough.” At least this factor affected the challah at the time it’s meant to rise. However, he also suggested (my wife suggested I ask him) that we check the mezuzas on the doors of our flat.
The next day I took the scrolls from the mezuzas to a sofer (scribe) to check and sure enough of the four of them three were problematic, one seriously so. We replaced them and the following Shabbat enjoyed delicious, light home baked challah, prepared at home, baked at home from the same recipe as before.
All of us experience G-d’s guiding hand in our own way; for us it was our challah. However we do know that the mezuza is a protection and security for our physical and spiritual well-being. Jewish law says that the doorposts of your house should have mezuzas and that they should be checked twice every seven years. They’re the true meaning of home security.