My hands find the dough, and I find G‑d's love again. Even in days of drenching anguish, comfort comes to me in the sweet labor of sanctifying the grains of G‑d's creation. There are times in life that can only be endured, yet when my hands press love of Torah into the deep parchment of wheat and water and sugar and yeast and salt, a covenant is renewed with history and hope, with faith and belief.

There are times I begin to knead nearly blind with tears, but as I set the dough to rise, my heart is steady again, and I am tranquil with faith. Sometimes our hearts must follow our hands, and our souls do the same, for we forget the strength in our being.

Only G‑d knows the fullness of creation; who are we to evade our destinies? The bowl, the mixing spoon, the wooden board, the perfume that emerges from the baking bread: these are our inheritance, greater than gold. In these times when too much is bought, too little fashioned with love from our hands, our challah's are prayers of humble yet steadfast devotion.

My son prefers challah warm in his hands to any cake, because he tastes the passion of my prayers, the sweetness of my caring. Never mind that my hair is gray, my face lined, my errors many. He knows, when I bake, that I am helping braid the threads of our faith so that his life will be blessed.

He tells me I am beautiful, and that I am kind, even though how many times in the past week I have been curt or impatient. It is forgotten in the Shabbat light. What is unimportant fades, as faith returns.