Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Pomegranate Challah in December, with fragrance of Yuzu

Your temple is like a slice of pomegranate
behind your veil

Song of Songs 6:7

challah journal from 12/22

For some time,  I have wanted to make a pomegranate challah.   It is rare to find a pomegranate where we live.  As they are not yet grown in Japan (as far as I know), there is not exactly a `season` here for them.    Because of the rarity of finding a pomegranate in our local supermarket , the timing of when to make such a challah would depend on when I could find a pomegranate.

I found a pomegranate in the supermarket in this December! It was at the time of the Parsha Vayashev.    With the excitement of finding the pomegranate, though, I forgot all about making the pomegranate challah, and enjoyed sharing the fruit itself with our teen guests at the Shabbat table. See post HERE.

 I decided after that, that IF  I could see a pomegranate again in the supermarket, then I would make a pomegranate challah.  And voila,  I did!

It is very exciting to open a pomegranate and see all those seeds, and even before that to just meditate on the shape of the fruit and of a special place it has in so many scriptures, from being the ornamental pattern on the robes of Aaron the High Priest (Exodus 28:33), to the bronze pillars on the Temple designed by King Solomon,

So he made the pillars with two rows of pomegranates all around on the netting covering the capitals on top of each capital.  1Kings 7:18

 and then in the writings of King Solomon in the Song of Songs.  This sensual and sweet fruit must have a lot of spiritual significance in the way it is used in the ornate designs and the flowing descriptions of the love between God and His people.  I like to read the Song of Songs on Shabbat, and with the pomegranate seeds and challah on the table, the verses with `pomegranate` just popped off the pages !

Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruit, henna with nard     --Song of Songs, 4:13

To make the pomegranate challah I used THIS recipe for a Fig Challah, and made the filling to be a pomegranate filling.  Because it is a season for Yuzu, a citric fruit, I  had the inspiration to add yuzu into the filling and to use it in this challah.

The combination of the yuzu peel and the pomegranate seeds was striking for their color and the fragrance of the juice from the  yuzu made an aromatic filling.

A pomegranate is a very expressive fruit.
When you cut it open it drips the bright red juice.  Some of the images in the song, even if not of the pomegranate, also come to life for  sensuous descriptions like hands and fingers dripping and flowing myrrh,
and descriptions of the beloved whose mouth is delicious, all of him is delightful.

All these seeds from in one fruit!

In this unique challah made in Japan, I mixed in some citrus peel from the Yuzu, a fruit which is in season here in the South of Japan, with the pomegranate seeds to make a sweet and fragrant filling
pomegranate and yuzu filling, to be rolled into the strands

this is how the challah looks before baking, 12 seeds to represent Joseph and his brothers and the promise of many descendants to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

Post Notes:

1. After all, even though I didn't see this pomegranate challah as fitting into the cycle of the seasons, now I see how it can relate to the Parasha and the cycle of Torah!  We are coming to the end of the first book of Bereshit, Genesis.  In these last Parashiot (readings), the promise to Abraham, then to Isaac, and on to Jacob is coming to fruition as all the brothers and their sons have come to Egypt.  There the seed of Abraham will be greatly multiplied and the nation of Israel will be formed during the years of captivity.   I put twelve pomegranate seeds on top of the challah to represent the 12 brothers.
2.  After making the pomegranate challah, I will venture to share what I "tasted" in this look at the pomegranate.  I see it as an exquisite fruit that can even represent our study of Torah.  Outside is one exquisite whole, a God-formed shape that is like a womb, with its roundness and at the same time curvature and irregularity, each one with even a slightly different outline.  Inside it contains what are like countless seeds.  And if you cut it in half to open it, there are seeds filling both sides, as if mirroring that there are two parts of God`s story that go together in one, all from the seed of Abraham and continuing to fulfillment in Yeshua,  descendants as countless in number as stars in the sky .   Each seed is glistening.   Israel is described as the apple of God`s eye in the scriptures, and when you look at the pomegranate from above, it even has an eye if you can see it that way!  Each of these seeds even in their multitude is a cherished one.  He sees us, each one treasured, each one precious in His eyes! 

3.  reading note: for more  on the pomegranate in scripture and its significance, I found this article interesting when doing some research for this post, HERE
last but not least, challah note and thanks, I used this POST for a pomegranate challah for inspiration and for how to separate the seeds,  a big thank you!! to the  Challah Blog for the instruction and inspiration!! 

 Since you are precious in My eyes, 
honored, because I love you,

Isaiah 43:4a


  1. That looks delicious, Shayndel! I love pomegrante.

    1. Thanks Sandi! Oh, and the pomegranate that I found in Japan is from America!! So maybe near you??? Love and blessings....have a happy and a fruitfull year!!♡

  2. Your pomegranate challa looks terrific!
    The pomegranate is a very beautiful fruit whose seeds are considered very benficial to health. It is, in my eyes, God's fruit, and it is wonderful the way you connected it to parshiot in the Torah.

    1. Thank you Duta! I love that about your seeing it as God`s fruit, thanks for sharing your expression! Blessings and a Happy Healthy Year!!

  3. I adore challa! What a lovely thing to make. I used to make it all the time.

    1. Thank you Jenn! Glad you could enjoy it here, hope you might have a chance to make it again!Blessings and a Happy New Year!!

  4. I get so excited when I visit you here Shayndel! I love your perspective.... how I am challenged to learn more, and scriptures are enriched into real life here. Thank you. I will continue to come back again and again. Oh, I wanted to know, "Do you have to do anything to extract the seeds for this bread?"

  5. Thank you Tammy! Always so encouraged by your encouragement:)) Oh, and I just added a link in the post, I really should have added it for thanks from the beginning! I referred to this post HERE (link below): for how to extract the seeds. She shares an easy way of extracting the seeds while the pomegranate is immersed in water!!
    I put the link in the post at the end of the post, or you can copy and paste it from here, should get you there, please enjoy!

    1. And a Happy New Year to you Tammy, may it be Blessed and full of God`s love overflowing!!♡

  6. I love how you describe the pomegranate. It is a lovely fruit and I enjoy its juice. How special that you were able to find and make challah bread with it.

  7. Thank you Joyful!!
    Blessings!!Happy New Year! ♡