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Backup Hafrashas Challah

Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

January 2009

All cRc food service establishments are required to have a religious Jew separating challah from every batter of dough as it is kneaded.  In some cases, it is appropriate to setup the following “backup system” to guarantee that no food is inadvertently sold without hafrashas challah due to an unforeseen situation.  Brief explanations or sources for specific items will be given in the footnotes.

Glossary of Terms Used in This Article

Tevel dough……………………. A batter containing at least 5 pounds of Jewish-owned flour, from which challah was never separated.  Typically, the tevel dough is made of wheat flour, but if the backup system will be used for other grains, then 5 pounds of each of those grains should be included in the tevel dough.
Establishment………………… The bakery, restaurant, or other food service establishment for which the backup hafrashas challah system is being implemented.
Designated Mashgiach….. The cRc representative who will recite the daily hafrashah for the establishment.


  1. The owner of the tevel dough should transfer ownership of it to the designated Mashgiach.1
  2. The tevel dough should be brought to the establishment and the owner of the establishment should give permission to the designated Mashgiach to perform hafrashas challah for him in the future.
  3. A fresh batter should be kneaded at the establishment, and challah should not be separated from the batter.  Rather, the designated Mashgiach should make a hafrashah on the batter from the tevel dough using the following wording said while holding the tevel dough:

A gram from the top of the tevel dough I am holding in my hand is hereby designated as challah for the batter of dough previously kneaded at this establishment from which challah was not separated. 
Henceforth, 30 minutes after2 any batter of dough is kneaded at this establishment, a gram of this tevel dough located next to the previously designated piece, should be designated as challah for that new batter.  In the case of a belilah rakah batter,3 the aforementioned hafrashah should take place 30 minutes after baking instead of 30 minutes after kneading.  This system of continual hafrashah should remain in effect until I verbally cancel it or recite a renewed system of continual hafrashah.  

  1. The tevel dough should be placed into a freezer (or refrigerator) at the establishment, and that freezer should preferably be located in the room where kneading will occur.4

Daily hafrashah

  1. Approximately once a day, the designated Mashgiach should renew the hafrashah by reciting the second paragraph of the wording noted above, substituting the name of the establishment (e.g. “ABC Bakery”) for the words “this establishment” in the first sentence.


  1. The tevel dough must be replaced when it spoils, after Pesach, or once all the grams of tevel have been used for hafrashas challah.  Thus, a 500 gram tevel dough must be replaced if (a) it is found to have spoiled, (b) if it was thrown out for Pesach, or (c) after 500 batters have been kneaded at the establishment. 
  2. Additionally, the tevel and batter must both be from grains that have grown in the same (Jewish) year.  Therefore, for example, a tevel dough of rye flour produced in May 5769 is made from rye grown in 5768, and would have to be replaced in the summer of 5769 when the 5769 crop of rye starts arriving at the establishment.  That date changes based on the grain, and the size and location of the establishment,5 and it is the responsibility of the designated Mashgiach to know when the “new” crop arrives.

1 Transferring ownership of the tevel dough to the designated Mashgiach avoids the concern of זכין מאדם raised by Taz YD 328:2 and Ketzos HaChoshen 243:8.

2 The 30 minute lag gives the on-site Mashgiach time to perform hafrashas challah with a bracha before the backup takes affect.

3 “Belilah rakah” refers to a pourable batter such as that used in sponge cake, as distinguished from a belilah avah/thick batter such as is used to create bread.  One must be mafrish challah from a belilah rakah which contains a shiur challah, (Shulchan Aruch 329:2) and it is preferable that the hafrashah be done after the batter is baked (Shach 329:4; there is discussion as to whether Shulchan Aruch 329:3 disagrees).

4 Having the batter and tevel dough in separate keilim that are in the same room satisfies the requirement for mukaf according to Shulchan Aruch 325:2, Rema 326:1 and Shach 324:19.  [The batter and tevel dough must be mukaf, but the designated Mashgiach may be located elsewhere].

5 In speaking to experts in agriculture and kashrus, it appears that in theory winter wheat will first come to market in approximately June of each year, oats in July and spring wheat in August, but these dates fluctuate based on market conditions (i.e. farmers selling quicker or slower to get the best price), location (how close the establishment is to the mills) and size of the establishment (with larger establishments receiving shipments earlier).  As such, it is impossible to give firm dates for any crop, and the designated Mashgiach must take responsibility for this.