Challah as Freedom
As if practicing Sabbath wasn’t hard enough, I recently decided to bake challah from scratch as a creative representation of the gift of Sabbath for God’s people.
Having to slow down and allow the bread process the time it required was just the challenge I needed/dreaded. The idea that bread takes just precisely as long to make as it takes became a kind of mantra for me over the days leading to the execution of this project and I started to apply it to other things. I sat down in a coffee shop with a stack of books, determined to finish this section in an hour, that section in the next thirty minutes, and also dive into a third book and then get on to the rest of my day. The fact is, sometimes it’s two hours worth of reading, not one or half of one. It takes as long as it takes. So I take a deep breath, take off my watch, grab another cup of tea, and settle into my reading. (Which sometimes lasts upwards of 20 minutes before I give up and go into the office.)
It has been suggested that the Sabbath means spending time and resources in ways that don’t make economic sense. Raise chickens oneself, make furniture by hand, or not utilize available technology. I would have accomplished a greater number of tasks had I purchased a couple loaves of bread instead. But as I began the baking ritual, taking one step at a time, intentionally slowing down and taking a methodical approach, I found myself becoming more spiritually, mentally, and emotionally calm. I experienced a real freedom from anxiety that I did not expect. A freedom that (probably) can’t be purchased at the grocery store.