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Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

One of the best-known of all prayers, the מוציא motsi begins every meal. It is not only an expression of gratitude to God for the food we are about to share; it is also an anticipation of Messianic times when we will be able to eat without toil: when God will literally “bring forth bread from the earth.” On that day, none of God’s children will go hungry… but until that time it is incumbent upon us to share our bread with the hungry.

We need to remember that our family table is an altar on which the food that is shared represents the grateful sacrifices that were offered to God in days gone by. Indeed the pieces of חלה challah (braided loaves) are sprinkled with salt just as the ancient sacrifices used to be.

On Shabbat, two loaves of חלה challah are placed on the table, representing the double portion of manna that the Israelites collected in the desert on Friday in anticipation of the day of rest when no manna could be gathered.

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