In this week's parshah, Shelach, we read about the mitzvah of separating challah. When baking bread, we separate a part of the dough for G‑d. This would be given to the Kohen. However, today we burn it.

When discussing this mitzvah, the Torah uses the word tarimu three times. The literal translation of tarimu is "you should lift up."

Though men are also obligated to do this mitzvah, challah is considered as one of the special mitzvahs near and dear to Jewish women. This mitzvah is so holy that women use the time of separating challah to pour their tender hearts out to G‑d.

What makes this mitzvah so special? Why does the Torah stress tarimu, you should lift up three times?

Bread is the most basic food, symbolic of our physical needs. It is what we toil and work for, to “make bread" and to “put bread" on the table. It is symbolic of everything physical in the world.

When you separate challah, you are taking the physical and lifting it up to a spiritual state. You are touching on the essence of Judaism, expressed in three uplifting steps:

First comes, emunah, belief in G‑d. We recognize that all we have is from Him. One may think, "my smarts an abilities have made me all this wealth," which, in a way, is like saying that it is not from G‑d. Separating challah to Hashem is recognition that everything we have is from Him.

Second, our purpose is to infuse the physical world with G‑dliness. Even something as basic as food needs to be infused with spirituality and used for G‑d.

Finally, the food that we feed our families is a holy endeavor; the future of the Jewish people is nourished by the hands of holy Jewish women.

You feed us emunah, you feed us essence, you feed us with a mitzvah. You feed us with love, you feed us with pride, and you feed us with tears. You are taking the physical and lifting it up to a spiritual state. The heart of a Jewish woman can do all that and more.

I am so grateful to all of you who have done the mitzvah of challah in my merit. Thank you for your prayers and tears.