July 19, 2024
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Start Somewhere and Blessings Will Follow

This weekend, many people will celebrate an unusual custom of having “shlissel challah” for Shabbos. Apparently, there is a custom in some communities of baking a challah with a key inside or of baking a challah in the shape of a key. This is supposed to help bring blessings of wealth and prosperity upon the household. The origin of this custom began after the Jewish people entered the Land of Israel and could no longer depend on eating the mannah. Since they now had to start worrying about their sustenance rather than having it handed to them each morning, the key on the challah was a form of prayer to God to open up the gates of livelihood. In our day, many continue this custom on the first Shabbos after Pesach. It centers around the concept that we have to start with something, in this case the symbolic “shlissel challah, and God will build upon our efforts by blessing us with abundance.

The concept of Heavenly blessings was once explained in a parable. A farmer prays for heavenly blessings for his field in the form of rain. Now, it can rain from here to tomorrow, but unless he has planted his seed in the ground it will not do him any good. Similarly, he can plant plenty of seed all over his field, but he still needs the blessings of rain to help his crop sprout and grow.

We too have to start somewhere and put in our own best efforts. We may not always be perfect at what we do and we may know of others who seem to be more pious or learned. All that is required, however, is that we start somewhere with the talents and abilities we already have. Then we can hope that Hashem will give us heavenly blessings and help us develop in terms of our wealth, success, character development and Torah observance. Just like the farmer who does his share and plants the seed receives the blessings of rain, may we too be blessed in the form of inspiration and accomplishment so that we are prosperous, successful, and grow in our character development and observance of the Torah.

By Rabbi Dr. Avi Kuperberg


Rabbi Dr. Avi Kuperberg is a forensic, clinical psychologist in private practice. He is president of the Chai Riders Motorcycle Club of NY/NJ. He leads the Summit Avenue Shabbos Gemara shiur and minyan in Fair Lawn, NJ, and is a member of the International Rabbinical Society. He can be reached at [email protected].

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