ḤALLAH

ḥALLAH (Heb. חַלָּה), the name of a tractate in the Mishnah, Tosefta, and Jerusalem Talmud dealing with portions that are to be removed from bread for the support of the priesthood. Although the original meanings of some key terms in Numbers 15:17–21, including ḥallah itself, are not entirely certain, the Jewish oral tradition interpreted the passage as a requirement to set aside a portion of the bread or dough to be consumed by the priests under conditions similar to the terumah that is taken from other produce, and which is commanded in similar phrasing. Nehemiah 10:38 demonstrates that the Torah's formula, "a portion for a gift unto the Lord," was understood as a stipulation that the ḥallah is directed to the priests, and is not a sacrificial offering. An early tradition, attested in the Septuagint, rendered arisoteikhem in Numbers 15:20 as "your kneading troughs," implying that the obligation of ḥallah falls on the unbaked dough; however, the verse also makes reference to the "bread of the land," leading some early authorities (including Philo, Josephus, and Rabbi Akiva) to apply the precept to baked bread. The developed tannaitic halakhah determined that the ḥallah should initially be separated from the dough, but if one has not done so, the obligation remains in force after baking. Out of the laconic and ambiguous biblical sources, the rabbinic treatises formulated an elaborate framework of precise rules and measures governing the separation of ḥallah. Several of the laws for ḥallah were derived through analogies with comparable areas of religious law, especially terumah. The definition of "bread" is equated with five species of grain, employing the same criteria that apply to the leavened or unleavened bread for purposes of Passover, eruv, or vows. In most matters, the restrictions arising from ḥallah's sacred status are derived from those of standard terumah; i.e., it must be kept in a state of purity, and can be consumed only by priests and their household members when they themselves are in a state of purity. As with terumah, consumption of the ḥallah by a non-priest incurs a divinely executed death penalty or (if done inadvertently) restoration with an additional fifth. Also like terumah, ḥallah is not incumbent upon dough that is ownerless or that is part of the Torah's entitlement to the poor. The fact that the Torah introduces the precept with the words "When ye come into the land whither I bring you" was understood to imply that ḥallah is required only from bread from the Land of Israel; and the Mishnah discusses the halakhic borders of the land, instances where the grain crossed the borders during the process, etc. The rabbis discuss several types of dough products whose function as bread is questionable or borderline. An ancient mishnah in Eduyot (1:2) records a disagreement between Shammai, Hillel, and the sages over the minimum quantity of dough that is subject to ḥallah. The Mishnah presupposes the view of the sages, as adapted by Rabbi Yosé: five quarter-kavs. Although it was understood that (as with terumah) the Torah stipulated no minimum proportion for the ḥallah vis à vis the whole loaf, the rabbis determined that it should be one twenty-fourth (or one twenty-eighth for professional bakers). Because the bread was usually ḥallah by women in their homes, the sources dealing with ḥallah provide some valuable glimpses into the domestic lives of Jewish women in antiquity. From the halakhic discussions, we learn that they often prepared bread in shared facilities, about their state of dress during the process, about difficulties in maintaining the requisite purity standards during their menstrual periods and the stratagems that were adopted to avoid defilement (e.g., by working with amounts smaller than the legal minimum). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.N. Epstein, Prolegomena ad Litteras Tannaiticas (1957), 270–5; S. Krauss, Kadmoniyyot ha-Talmud, vol. 2, 1 (1929), 153–206; H.W. Guggenheimer, The Jerusalem Talmud: First Order: Zeraim: Tractates Ma'aser Šeni, ḥallah, 'Orlah, and Bikkurim: Edition, Translation, and Commentary, Studia Judaica, ed. E.L. Ehrlich (2003). (Stephen G. Wald (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ḤALLAH — (Heb. חַלָּה), a form of bread (II Sam. 6:19). The term also applies to the portion of dough set aside and given to the priest (Num. 15:19–20). The etymology of the word is traced either to the Hebrew root for hollow and pierce (Heb. חלל, ḥll),… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • hallah — [khä′lə, hä′lə] n. CHALLAH …   English World dictionary

  • Hallah —  Pour l’article homophone, voir Halla (Pendragon). Hallot garnies de graines de sésame. La Hallah (חלה, plur. Hallot), se prononce avec le même …   Wikipédia en Français

  • hallah — variant of challah …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hallah — /khah leuh, hah /, n. challah. * * * …   Universalium

  • hallah — hal·lah …   English syllables

  • hallah — noun (Judaism) a loaf of white bread containing eggs and leavened with yeast; often formed into braided loaves and glazed with eggs before baking • Syn: ↑challah • Topics: ↑cooking, ↑cookery, ↑preparation, ↑Judaism …   Useful english dictionary

  • Hallah (Talmud) — Hallah (Hebrew: חלה, lit. Glob of Dough ) is the ninth tractate of Seder Zeraim ( Order of Seeds ) of the Mishnah and of the Talmud . This is Hallah is a separated from all dough baked and put aside for Kohen in Biblical times and the time of the …   Wikipedia

  • 'Hala — Hallah  Pour l’article homophone, voir Halla (Pendragon). Hallah garnie de grains de pavot La Hallah ( …   Wikipédia en Français

  • FIVE SPECIES — FIVE SPECIES, the varieties of seed to which the halakhot concerning the agricultural produce of Ereẓ Israel apply. The Mishnah lists the five species as ḥittim, se orim, kusmin, shibbolet shu al, and shippon (Ḥal. 1:1). They are known in… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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