Then He said to him, "What is your name?"
"Jacob," he said.
Then He said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but rather Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and you have overcome.
---Genesis 32:28~29 TLV
My challah this week is a fig challah! For the Parashat VaYishlach! Two 6 braided challahs, twelve strands total for the 12 sons of Jacob, who will become12 tribes of Israel.
Why fig challah? because Jacob`s name was changed to Israel in this parsha and "figs" make me think of Israel and are used in many ways in Scripture to represent God and returning to Israel.
For ADONAI your God is bringing you into a good land-- a land of wadis with water, of springs and fountains flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land where you will eat bread with no poverty, where you will lack nothing... ---Deuteronomy 8:7 TLV
When making the challah, you make the whole dough, then divide out the sections for each braid...so this part I thought about Jacob and then each of the 12 strands to be his sons. Even as I was rolling them and shaping them, each one seemed different and had its own character!! It was a chance to meditate on the sons and how each is so different, they even came from four different mothers. In the previous parshat is where we met all 12.
Two challahs of 6 strands each--- 12 strands total, all from one dough.
When I was making them and dividing them, I also started enacting out the story of the Parsha.
In this Parshat, Jacob prepares to meet Esau. He gathers together his family---his twelve sons and one daughter, who have been born to him, from his two wives and their two maid-servants, and they all set out together.
Jacob hasn't seen his twin brother since the blessings and birthright matter, and he fears for his life in this meeting with Esau, after having run away with taking both the birthright and blessing. In going to meet Esau, he prepares for this meeting in several ways--- by praying, by preparing gifts of many animals as an offering for his brother..and by dividing up his family, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps. In case Esau and his armies strikes against one camp, there will still be one camp that can escape.
Then Jacob glanced up and saw, behold, there was Esau coming--and 400 men with him. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. --Genesis 33:1 TLV
Now about the filling!! Jacob receives a new name, Israel. Now he is no longer just the deceitful Jacob who we see always trying to get the best of things, but rather he is the Jacob that has wrestled with God. He was changed through it both physically with a limp, and sprirtually with a new name.
The dough in the challah making is "filled" with the fig filling. The figs have been cooked with grape juice and some salt, and have become fragrant in the process of cooking and becoming rich in taste and scent. Can you see where this is going with Jacob? Yes, the "dough", raw material of Jacob, is molded and kneaded by God in all these years and now as he became Israel he is filled with this rich inner being and after wrestling, humbling himself, and seeing God`s face. As he goes to meet his brother, he is becoming the Forefather whose name was changed to Israel!!
When you taste the challah, can you taste some of this about the parsha?
Blessings and Shabbat Shalom!
Find RECIPE for this exquisite tasting Fig Challah HERE or on sidebar links!
Making Note: for the fig paste, I used grape juice instead of where it says orange juice and left out the orange rind.