|Lechem Mishneh: The Bread of Life|
|Written by Rabbi Oded Sher|
Every Shabbat we make Kiddush, wash our hands, uncover two beautiful Challot, make a small incision to remind us where we are going to cut the challa, then we try to remember
whether we make a bracha on the top or bottom challa, finally we cut the challa dip it in salt and send it down the table to our starving family and guests. Rabbi Simcha Weinberg has challenged all of us to stop and think about the 7 steps that we all go through for us to see a glimpse of the genius of our Sages and Hashem in to how to elevate our lives. Just for that we should be thankful for this website.
I remember one time hearing Harav Noach Weinberg Zt"l comparing the process of making bread to learning Torah. With bread you first you plow the field then you plant the seed. It is the same with learning Torah; there is a process. You cannot just keep plowing the field without planting seeds and you cannot plant seeds until you plow the field. On and on he took his class through the analogy (Its too long to get into here, but I believe it is on the Mesilat Yesharim series available at aish.com (incredible series!!)).
Taking Rabbi Noach Weinberg's comparison of Bread (manna) and Torah can put a beautiful touch to our understanding of Lechem Mishna (Either translated as "Bread of Repetition" or "Bread that is Doubled") and of the steps we take on blessing the two challot on Shabbat.
Juxtaposing Torah on our "bread" it becomes very clear as to why we wash since we cannot be involved with Torah without purity of hands. The challot are covered because there has to be a sense of tzniut to reveal beauty only its proper time, like we do to a Torah scroll right before we read from it.
There are 2 separate challot representing the Written Torah and the Oral Torah, bringing them together is us saying that our Judaism exists only through the combination of both.
The small incision is to remind us of the focus and intention that we must have in our learning and relationship to the Torah we learn.
We must remember which challah to make the bracha on since there must be a time to focus on the written Torah and a time to focus on the Oral Torah and we must be able to distinguish between the two.
We dip the challa in salt to add flavor to our learning and also to remember that our Torah must be preserved.
The final step is to share our learning with our family, friends, and guests who all starve for Torah just like we do.