When the Jewish people first entered and settled the land of Israel, one of the many gifts they were commanded to give to the Kohanim, the priestly tribe who served in the Holy Temple, was "challah" — a portion of dough separated from their kneading bowl every time they baked bread.

In addition to its practical function as a gift to the kohen, the mitzvah of "Separating Challah" embodies a profound spiritual truth. Challah is G‑d's portion in our bread, in our life. It expresses the belief that all of our sustenance truly comes to us through G‑d's hand. Just as we may not use the bread dough unless we have separated challah, so too, a portion of our livelihood is always reserved for the giving of charity.

The Torah refers to challah as the reishit--the first and the best—of the kneading bowl. So, too, our spiritual pursuits may occupy only a small portion, quantity-wise, of our lives, but they are "the first and the best" in us, to which we devote the first moments of our day, the freshest of our energies, the keenest of our talents.