HaMotzi: Blessing Over the Bread

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Learn the HaMotzi Blessing with “Prayer-eoke”

Learn the HaMotzi Blessing with “Prayer-eoke”

This short, to the point video demonstrates the singing of the blessing over the bread on Shabbat clearly and slowly with Hebrew and transliterated subtitles. The video was created by Rabbi Ahuva Zaches of Congregation Or Ami (Reform) in Richmond, VA, as part of her YouTube series, “Prayer-eoke,” a

How To: The Ritual Hand Washing and Blessing Over the Bread on Shabbat

How To: The Ritual Hand Washing and Blessing Over the Bread on Shabbat

This short instructional video, part of The Jewish Living Series of Perelman Jewish Day School, provides a detailed explanation of the ritual hand washing and the blessing over the bread on Shabbat, according to Ashkenazic tradition. Complete with the recitation of both blessings with accompanying transliterated subtitles,

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: How To Make Hamotzi

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: How To Make Hamotzi

This short video from Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks demonstrates how to perform the blessing over the bread on Shabbat according to Orthodox Ashkenazic tradition. Complete with an explanation about why bread is considered the most significant food, this video breaks down the ceremony into practical steps. With

Printable Hand Washing & Hamotzi Guide

Printable Hand Washing & Hamotzi Guide

This simple one-page card from Aish.com provides the Hebrew, English and transliterated texts of the blessings for the ritual washing of the hands and the bread. It also includes directions for the accompanying ritual actions, according to Orthodox Ashenazi custom. This resource is ideal for

The Shabbat Project: Sephardic Hand Washing & HaMotzi Guide

The Shabbat Project: Sephardic Hand Washing & HaMotzi Guide

This two-page resource includes a detailed step-by-step guide explaining how to fulfill the ritual washing of the hands and the blessing over challah according to Sephardic tradition, including Hebrew, English and transliterated texts. Whereas according to Ashkenazic tradition, the blessing is simply recited upon washing the

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

Clear Recitation of Blessing Over the Bread with Subtitles

Clear Recitation of Blessing Over the Bread with Subtitles

This short, to the point video clearly demonstrates how to recite the blessing over the bread according to most traditions. It not only provides the Hebrew, English and transliterated texts, but has the text appearing one word at a time, making it easy for beginners to follow

HaMotzi: Origins, Laws and Customs

HaMotzi: Origins, Laws and Customs

This detailed article by Chaviva Gordon-Bennett explains the meaning, origins, customs, and practical how-to’s of the blessing over the bread on Shabbat, including the Hebrew, English and transliterated text of the blessing. Published on ThoughtCo, a website that provides in-depth articles about a wide range of topics to

How to Separate Challah: Sephardic & Ashkenazi Customs

How to Separate Challah: Sephardic & Ashkenazi Customs

This excerpt from “The Secret of Challah” by Shira Wiener & Ayelet Yifrach provides clear and concise directions for both Ashkenazim and Sepharadim on how to perform the mitzvah (commandment) of Hafrashat Challah – separating the dough when making challah. The instructions provide the Hebrew, English and transliterated

Aish: How to Make HaMotzi

Aish: How to Make HaMotzi

The following responsum, written by Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld for Aish.com’s Ask The Rabbi, column, describes how to perform the blessing over the bread on Shabbat from start to finish according to Orthodox law and tradition. Rabbi Rosenfeld’s clear and thorough response is perfect for those interested in

Students Explain the HaMotzi Customs

Students Explain the HaMotzi Customs

This short, humorous video, created by students at Makor of Hebrew College, describes several customs pertaining to the HaMotzi ritual performed on Shabbat. The students not only explain the various customs, but also provide a live demonstration of the overall ritual in order to gain a

Chabad: Origins, Laws and Customs of the Two Loaves

Chabad: Origins, Laws and Customs of the Two Loaves

This thorough article, written by Rabbi Aryeh Citron of Chabad.org, discusses both the meaning behind the two loaves used for the blessing over the bread on Shabbat, as well as practical, detailed, step-by-step guidance on how to perform this ritual according to Orthodox Ashkenazic tradition. With reference

Blessing the Challah: A 3-Step Guide

Blessing the Challah: A 3-Step Guide

This short post outlines the basic order of blessing the challah, including the text of the blessing in Hebrew, English and transliteration.  How to Bless the Challah 1. The challot are uncovered and the blessing is recited as follows: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם, הַמּוצִיא לֶחֶם מִן

6 Challah Recipes & The Mitzvah of Separating Challah

6 Challah Recipes & The Mitzvah of Separating Challah

The following article from Aish.com provides six different challah recipes, including eggless, whole wheat, and the “always successful” recipe, reprinted from “Taste of Shabbos: The Complete Cookbook,” and “Adventures in Bubby Irma’s Kitchen.” There is a special obligation to eat two (or three) bread meals

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Customs

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Printable Hand Washing & Hamotzi Guide

Printable Hand Washing & Hamotzi Guide

This simple one-page card from Aish.com provides the Hebrew, English and transliterated texts of the blessings for the ritual washing of the hands and the bread. It also includes directions for the accompanying ritual actions, according to Orthodox Ashenazi custom. This resource is ideal for

Let Us Bring Forth Food: Humanistic Ha-Motzi

Let Us Bring Forth Food: Humanistic Ha-Motzi

This blessing for breaking bread, inspired by HaMotzi, meaning “the one who brings forth,” was composed by Machar: The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism. Typical of this movement, founded in 1963 by the late Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, the blessing omits any mention of God,

Modernizing Birkat HaMotzi: A Feminist Spiritual Approach

Modernizing Birkat HaMotzi: A Feminist Spiritual Approach

This excerpt from Marcia Falk’s “The Book of Blessings” discusses both the significance of Birkat HaMotzi (the blessing over the bread) as a symbol of community, and offers a modernization of the blessing that can be used as a table ritual whenever one sits down for a meal.

Alternative HaMotzi: Humanistic & Theistic Version

Alternative HaMotzi: Humanistic & Theistic Version

In this alternative blessing over the bread, Lesley Reuter encourages readers to gratefully reflect on the source of their food, whether they believe it comes through human effort or Divine generosity. With both humanistic and theistic versions, this blessing is relevant for anyone looking to

Secular/ Humanist HaMotzi Texts

Secular/ Humanist HaMotzi Texts

The following excerpts from a Secular/Humanist Shabbat Service emphasize our connection to the land and themes of social justice, in English, Hebrew transliteration and some Yiddish. Although the traditions of Shabbat are often seen as purely religious rituals, many secular Jews around the world see Friday night

Motzi: A Chain of Work – Prayer Prior to HaMotzi

Motzi: A Chain of Work – Prayer Prior to HaMotzi

This poetic prayer, meant to be recited prior to the blessing over the challah, brings one’s intentions toward all of the people, powers, and systems that allowed for the bread to come into existence. Written by Trisha Arlin, a writer, performer and rabbinic student at the Academy

Words Of Prayer and Intention: A Sustainability Motzi

Words Of Prayer and Intention: A Sustainability Motzi

This poetic blessing over the bread brings one’s intentions toward all of the people, powers, and systems that allowed for the bread to come into existence. The prayer finishes with an adapted English and transliterated version of the HaMotzi blessing, which includes several different concepts of

The Shabbat Project: Sephardic Hand Washing & HaMotzi Guide

The Shabbat Project: Sephardic Hand Washing & HaMotzi Guide

This two-page resource includes a detailed step-by-step guide explaining how to fulfill the ritual washing of the hands and the blessing over challah according to Sephardic tradition, including Hebrew, English and transliterated texts. Whereas according to Ashkenazic tradition, the blessing is simply recited upon washing the

JOFA: A Tchina for Putting Challah in the Oven

JOFA: A Tchina for Putting Challah in the Oven

The following prayer is meant to be recited by women prior to putting the challah into the oven. It asks God to bless the challah and make sure that it bakes well, and also includes general praise of God. The article provides an introduction to

HaMotzi(ah) with Masculine and Feminine God-Language

HaMotzi(ah) with Masculine and Feminine God-Language

This post presents the blessing over the bread both in its traditional format (i.e. with masculine God-language) and using feminine God-language, an option that reflects the blend of Jewish tradition with modern feminist approaches. The feminine version not only refers to God using the feminine

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

How to Separate Challah: Sephardic & Ashkenazi Customs

How to Separate Challah: Sephardic & Ashkenazi Customs

This excerpt from “The Secret of Challah” by Shira Wiener & Ayelet Yifrach provides clear and concise directions for both Ashkenazim and Sepharadim on how to perform the mitzvah (commandment) of Hafrashat Challah – separating the dough when making challah. The instructions provide the Hebrew, English and transliterated

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Music

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Reform: The “HaMotzi” Song

Reform: The “HaMotzi” Song

In this short video, Cantor Jan Lieberman plays guitar and sings a version of the blessing over the bread often used in Reform congregations and institutions. Composed by Professor Samuel Adler, the song is comprised of an introduction to the blessing, the blessing itself, and the word ‘amen,’

HaMotzi Children’s Song (Hebrew)

HaMotzi Children’s Song (Hebrew)

This sweet song, by Israeli artist, Ariela Savir, includes the blessing over the bread as well as praise for God as the ultimate provider and a prayer for health and well-being for all. With its light, upbeat melody, this song from the “Crown of Prayer”

‘I Love Challah Rolls’ Song

‘I Love Challah Rolls’ Song

This humorous music video, produced by campers and staff from TheZone Jewish Sleepaway Camp, presents a humorous accounting of the mitzvah of the blessing the bread on Shabbat. A spoof of the song ‘I Love Rock n Roll,’ by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the new

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Informative Articles & Videos

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Introduction to the Blessing over the Bread

Introduction to the Blessing over the Bread

This short article offers a brief introduction to the blessing over the bread, including an explanation of the purpose of blessings, a description of the origins of this ritual, mention of associated rituals, and a basic summary of how to fulfill this commandment. The author,

Braided Challah: Integrating the Mundane & the Holy

Braided Challah: Integrating the Mundane & the Holy

This article explores the meaning behind the braiding of the Shabbat challah, suggesting that it symbolizes the weaving of our weekday mentality into a Shabbat state of mind. The author, Rabbi Yossi Lipsker is the rabbi at Chabad of the North Shore, and the article was originally posted

Why We Cover the Bread During HaMotzi

Why We Cover the Bread During HaMotzi

This article from Chabad.org provides biblical, Talmudic and halachic reasons for the custom of covering the challah before and during the HaMotzi blessing. In practice, the Shabbat challah is covered from the beginning of the Kiddush (blessing over the wine) until immediately before (or after – customs vary) the

JOFA: The Women’s Role in Kiddush, HaMotzi & Havdallah

JOFA: The Women’s Role in Kiddush, HaMotzi & Havdallah

The following excerpt from the article “Halachot of Kiddush, HaMotzi and Havdalah, printed by The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), illustrates how women and men are equally obligated to  participate in the commandments of Kiddush (the blessing over the wine) and HaMotzi (the blessing over

Six Strand Braided Challah: The Unity of Shabbat

Six Strand Braided Challah: The Unity of Shabbat

This article explores the meaning behind the custom of braiding of the Shabbat challah with six strands, suggesting that it symbolizes how we bring the diversity in our lives together in peaceful unity on Shabbat. It also includes a video demonstrating how to make challah

Shabbat Home Ritual: Challah

Shabbat Home Ritual: Challah

In this short post, Sarah Fishman describes the basics of the challah ceremony, as part of an article introducing the Shabbat home rituals of candle lighting, kiddush over wine, and challah (bread). The author, a  rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

The Mitzvah of Separating Challah

The Mitzvah of Separating Challah

This introductory article by Rabbi Mendy Hecht explains the commandment of ‘Hafrashat Challah’ (‘separating challah’), complete with the English transliteration and translation of the blessing. Rabbi Hecht is the founder of the Chabad Jewish Center of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY.

Challah Kabbalah: How to Make Mystical Bread for Shabbat

Challah Kabbalah: How to Make Mystical Bread for Shabbat

This short video, created by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), transforms the mundane act of making bread into a holy and mystical experience by connecting each ingredient with a corresponding attribute or meditation that will infuse both the baker and the challah with deep, spiritual meaning. The

Reform: Explaining the HaMotzi Ritual

Reform: Explaining the HaMotzi Ritual

The following excerpt from “Shabbat Customs,” published by ReformJudaism.org, describes the various customs pertaining to the blessing over the bread on Shabbat, including the covering of the bread and knife, the amount of bread needed for a blessing, and how the bread is divided up and

Why We Dip the Bread in Salt During the HaMotzi Ritual

Why We Dip the Bread in Salt During the HaMotzi Ritual

This responsum from Chabad.org discusses the origins of dipping bread into salt before eating it as part of the HaMotzi ritual. Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin, a writer for the websites ‘Ask the Rabbi’ column, provides both technical halachic explanations for the custom, as well as the Kabbalistic (Jewish mystical)

Friday Night & Beyond: Insights on HaMotzi

Friday Night & Beyond: Insights on HaMotzi

This thorough excerpt from “Friday Night and Beyond” by Lori Palatnik includes spiritual explanations for many of the customs surrounding the HaMotzi ritual and personal reflections from people about what the blessing means to them. It also provides a clear step-by-step guide explaining how to perform the ritual

Friday Night & Beyond: Insights on HaMotzi

Friday Night & Beyond: Insights on HaMotzi

This thorough excerpt from “Friday Night and Beyond” by Lori Palatnik includes spiritual explanations for many of the customs surrounding the HaMotzi ritual and personal reflections from people about what the blessing means to them. It also provides a clear step-by-step guide explaining how to perform the ritual

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: Women’s Obligation in HaMotzi and Shabbat Meals

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: Women’s Obligation in HaMotzi and Shabbat Meals

This article, written by Halacha Yomit (Daily Laws), describes the women’s obligation to participate in the blessing over the bread and the three meals on Shabbat according to Orthodox tradition. Ideal for those who have a background and interest in Jewish law, the article uses a lot

Rabbi Yechial Eckstein: The Spiritual Significance of Challah

Rabbi Yechial Eckstein: The Spiritual Significance of Challah

In this clear video, Rabbi Yechial Eckstein describes the spiritual meaning of challah and how it differs from regular bread. Rabbi Eckstein explains how challah is used during the Shabbat meals and also uses various biblical verses and customs to show how challah is the ultimate symbol of

HaMotzi: The Primordial Past & The Messianic Future

HaMotzi: The Primordial Past & The Messianic Future

This excerpt from “The Way Into Jewish Prayer (Jewish Lights)” by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman explores how the words of the blessing over the bread make a theological statement about both the primordial past and the messianic future. The article also provides links to see the Hebrew text of

Why We ‘Scratch’ the Challah before Bircat HaMotzi

Why We ‘Scratch’ the Challah before Bircat HaMotzi

This article from Chabad.org discusses the halachic (legal) and Kabbalistic (mystical) explanations for ‘scratching’ the Challah before the blessing over the bread on Shabbat. Scratching, or placing a small cut in the top of the challah, is done immediately before the recitation of the blessing over the bread.

Rav Kook on HaMotzi: For All Times

Rav Kook on HaMotzi: For All Times

This excerpt from “Gold from the Land of Israel” by Rabbi Chanan Morrison is a textual analysis of the word “HaMotzi” as it is found in Exodus 6:7, based on the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaKohen Kook. The author analyzes a Talmudic discussion as to whether

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan: The Connection Between the Exodus and Challah

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan: The Connection Between the Exodus and Challah

This excerpt from “Sabbath: Day of Eternity” by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan describes the deep spiritual connection between the Exodus from Egypt and the two loaves of bread eaten during Shabbat meals. Using textual support from the Torah, Rabbi Kaplan demonstrates how eating the Shabbat bread is

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What else?

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Bread from the Earth: Food Justice Ceremony

Bread from the Earth: Food Justice Ceremony

This ceremony, meant to be performed before the blessing over the bread, encourages people to contemplate the source of their food, the process it went through to get onto the Shabbat table, and the complexity of food systems. Structured as a guide for hosts, this

Ha-Motzi Blessing in ASL

Ha-Motzi Blessing in ASL

This video demonstrates how to sign the blessing over the bread in American Sign Language, which is especially helpful for those who are deaf or hard of hearing and those seeking to make their practice more inclusive. While there are no subtitles, there is an audio

6 Challah Recipes & The Mitzvah of Separating Challah

6 Challah Recipes & The Mitzvah of Separating Challah

The following article from Aish.com provides six different challah recipes, including eggless, whole wheat, and the “always successful” recipe, reprinted from “Taste of Shabbos: The Complete Cookbook,” and “Adventures in Bubby Irma’s Kitchen.” There is a special obligation to eat two (or three) bread meals

The Ultimate Gluten-Free Challah Recipe

The Ultimate Gluten-Free Challah Recipe

This gluten-free challah recipe is perfect for anyone with a gluten sensitivity who still wants to participate in the ritual of baking and enjoying homemade challah for Shabbat. The article includes an introduction from the author, Vered Meir, an avid baker based in Oakland, California.

A Ritual of Sending Challah to Kids in College

A Ritual of Sending Challah to Kids in College

In this personal story, Sheri Linder describes how she bakes challah each week and sends it in the mail with a bottle of grape juice and candles to each of her children who are away at college. Linder likens the process of baking challah to

Race & Social Justice: “Until Justice Rolls Down Like Water”

Race & Social Justice: “Until Justice Rolls Down Like Water”

This ceremony, meant to be performed before the ritual hand-washing prior to eating bread, encourages people to contemplate issues of race in society, imagine an ideal world, and recognize the things which we cannot wash clean. Structured as a guide for hosts, this ceremony comes

Motzi: A Chain of Work – Prayer Prior to HaMotzi

Motzi: A Chain of Work – Prayer Prior to HaMotzi

This poetic prayer, meant to be recited prior to the blessing over the challah, brings one’s intentions toward all of the people, powers, and systems that allowed for the bread to come into existence. Written by Trisha Arlin, a writer, performer and rabbinic student at the Academy

Words Of Prayer and Intention: A Sustainability Motzi

Words Of Prayer and Intention: A Sustainability Motzi

This poetic blessing over the bread brings one’s intentions toward all of the people, powers, and systems that allowed for the bread to come into existence. The prayer finishes with an adapted English and transliterated version of the HaMotzi blessing, which includes several different concepts of

And She Laughed: A Kitchen Ritual for Healing from Miscarriage

And She Laughed: A Kitchen Ritual for Healing from Miscarriage

This article suggests that making challah can be a therapeutic, healing ritual for women suffering from miscarriages and infertility. Rabbi Jodie Gordon, a feminist, Reform rabbi and educator, shares her own personal story and then outlines how to conduct this ritual for an individual or a

Shalom Sesame: Learn About Shabbat with Grover

Shalom Sesame: Learn About Shabbat with Grover

In this sweet, amusing video, Grover learns about Shabbat on “Shalom Sesame,” the Israeli version of the popular children’s television series, “Sesame Street.” Grover helps his friend prepare for Shabbat on a busy Friday afternoon, and in the process, he learns about Shabbat candles, Kiddush,

Challah Kabbalah: How to Make Mystical Bread for Shabbat

Challah Kabbalah: How to Make Mystical Bread for Shabbat

This short video, created by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), transforms the mundane act of making bread into a holy and mystical experience by connecting each ingredient with a corresponding attribute or meditation that will infuse both the baker and the challah with deep, spiritual meaning. The

How to Separate Challah: Sephardic & Ashkenazi Customs

How to Separate Challah: Sephardic & Ashkenazi Customs

This excerpt from “The Secret of Challah” by Shira Wiener & Ayelet Yifrach provides clear and concise directions for both Ashkenazim and Sepharadim on how to perform the mitzvah (commandment) of Hafrashat Challah – separating the dough when making challah. The instructions provide the Hebrew, English and transliterated

The Mitzvah of Separating Challah

The Mitzvah of Separating Challah

This introductory article by Rabbi Mendy Hecht explains the commandment of ‘Hafrashat Challah’ (‘separating challah’), complete with the English transliteration and translation of the blessing. Rabbi Hecht is the founder of the Chabad Jewish Center of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY.

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