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This week's portion: A Special Transmission at Sinai

Best-laid plans

Friday begins with a hitch in our plans: my car won't start. So Drew and I won't be going in to town for school or work. We're staying home and waiting for the tow truck instead.

Midmorning it occurs to me that we have flour and yeast and water. Instead of going to the A-Frame as we usually do, we can bake our own challah!

Drew's willing to be lured away from the cartoons and the marble run game for a while. He pulls his footstool into the kitchen. He stirs the bowl a bit, announcing excitedly that he is helping.

A few hours later, when the dough has risen, I invite Drew back in. He seems to like patting the flour (which he calls, adorably enough, "flowers") and trying to roll snakes of dough beneath his hands.

Braiding seems like too much of a challenge for him, so I braid one big challah and one tiny one, and with the other pieces we make a twist and a spiral roll, which we set to rise.


While the smaller challot are baking, we read It's Challah Time! -- a longtime favorite -- and he takes obvious pleasure in being able to say, "I did that!" every time we come to a step in which he participated.

Once the first batch is out of the oven, I say hamotzi and we share a little challah roll. It's delicious: light and fluffy, tearing apart like the dinner rolls they used to serve at the Barn Door when I was a kid.

But as yummy as the bread is, Drew's obvious delight is even more so. (To be fair, he's equally delighted by the appearance of the mechanic and his big tow truck later in the day. Large vehicles are super-exciting to this three-year-old boy.)

As sundown approaches, I put one of our small braided challot beneath a napkin and tuck candles into our candlesticks, extra-excited about making the blessings with Drew over Shabbat challah we made with our own hands.



Of course, because nothing ever goes as one anticipates, it turns out at dinnertime that he doesn't like our challah. It seems to have become denser, now that it's cooled; it's not as soft and airy as the one the baker makes. He refuses to eat it. And then, for good measure, refuses to eat anything else, and blithely tells me he's done with dinner.

Oh, well. I'm still happy we made challah together. Even if he didn't eat a single Shabbat bite.