Challah Covers Guide
Challah covers are an ancient tradition both in Judaism and Judaica art. Originating from religious tradition in Talmudic times, challah covers serve two purposes. One is the obvious role of covering the challah on your Shabbat dinner table. As a piece of Judaica art, its second job is to decorate your dinner table adding a greater meaning and aesthetic pleasure to your weekend.
What are Challah Covers?
As described above, challah covers are pieces of cloth often elaborately decorated to cover the challah on Shabbat. There are several reasons for covering the challah and they all date back to Jewish cultural traditions of the ancient times.
One symbol resembled by the challah cover is the gift of manna given to the Jews during the Exodus from Egypt to Israel. On Shabbat, the braided bread challah is placed on the table on top of a cutting board and underneath a challah cover to simulate the two layers of dew that would fall both above and beneath the Jew’s manna keeping it fresh.
Another reason for the covering of challah is the other Jewish tradition of Kiddush. According to the religious practices of the sages, the meal’s bread needs to be blessed before everything else. However, Kiddush, or the blessing of the wine, must be performed to sanctify Shabbat making this of high priority. The solution has been to cover the challah and perform Kiddush while the challah remains out of sight. Only after the Kiddush is the challah uncovered and blessed.
Challah covers come in a wide variety of forms and materials to help Judaica customers find the piece that they most want to have on their Shabbat dinner table. Different Judaica artists also create challah covers with separate materials and often create lines or collections of challah covers of a certain material. This arrayed mixture of material includes fine silk, embroidery, cotton, and just about every kind of cloth imaginable. When lacking a proper challah cover, almost anything can be used in its place including paper.
As an item that comes from and derives all inspiration from ancient Jewish culture, the designs typically used on a challah cover are generally of the same theme though many artists are specially recognized for modernizing their pieces.
Traditional designs for challah covers include almost every symbol of Jewish significance. Pomegranates, Stars of David, and views of abstractly colored Jerusalem are among the most popular images and symbols used. Each artist and creator may have a different style and set of taste when it comes to challah covers, but they are all sure to get the job done, and with such an amazing selection available, you are certain to find the piece that’s just right for you.