Challah (1:5) | Yisrael Bankier | 2 years ago

This week we began to learn about the obligation of separating challah. If one prepared five, quarter-kav of dough from one on the five grains, a portion of that dough must be separated and give to a kohen. We will learn that that separated dough, the challah, is treated much like terumah. We have however learnt that one is not obligated to separate challah from some products made from dough. One of these is the sufganin. The Bartenura explains that these are spongy cakes made from a batter and then either fried in oil and honey or cooked in water. One does not need to separate challah from them since they are not defined as "lechem" -- bread.

The Mishnah (1:5) teaches that they are only exempt from the separation of challah if both in the beginning and end of their preparation they are sufganin. What this means in the subject of debate.

The Bartenura explains that if the sufganin were first prepared as a thick dough or if they were finally baked, then one would be required to separated challah. In other words, they must be prepared as sufganin from beginning to end, to be exempt from separating challah. This is the opinion of the Rabbeinu Tam.

The Rash however disagrees. He explains that one's intention is critical. In other words, even if one prepared a thick dough, if they intended from the outset to produce sufganin, the dough is exempt from separating challah. In other words, the beginning and end discussed in our Mishnah refers to one's original intent and final action.

The Mishnah Rishona cites the Rosh who presents the following difficulty. The Mishnah (3:3) discusses the case where one consecrated flour to the Beit HaMikdash, it was kneaded into dough, and then redeemed from hekdesh. The Mishnah explains since it was the property of hekdesh at the time when the chiyuv of challah begins (shaat chiyuv) it is exempt from the obligation of separating Challah. That ruling seemingly contradicts our Mishnah. According to the Rash's reading of the Mishnah, if one initially intended that the dough be used for sufganim, but then later changed their mind and baked it as bread, they would be obligated to separate challah. Based on the later Mishnah one might ask, since at the time when the dough was rolled one intended to make sufganin, it should be considered exempt at the time from separating challah. Recall that the time of rolling the dough is critical. Consequently, since it was exempt at that time, even if one baked it as bread, it should be exempt.1

The Rosh answers that in the case of the gizbar (treasurer of the Beit HaMikdash), the gizbar or hekdesh provided the act that was missing -- kneading the dough. Since that action was performed by the gizbar, it is exempt from challah. Our case however is dependent on intent. Consequently, the action at the end overrides the original intent and the dough/bread is obligated in challah. One can explain that because of the final action, it is as if it was always kneaded for the purpose of bread.

The Mishnah Rishona however suggests a different answer. He explains that the shaat chiyuv for challah is when the dough is rolled for bread. In the case of the gizbar, the dough was exempt from challah because when dough was rolled for bread, it was the property of hekdesh. Our case however is different. In our case the dough was originally rolled for sufganin. Consequently there was no shaat chiyuv; there was no moment where there existed "bread dough". The shaat chiyuv arises later when that dough become bread, when the person changed their mind a baked the dough. Consequently, since there was no shaat chiyuv when the dough was exempt, one must separate challah.

1 See the Avnei Nezer (YD 413:5) who explains that that Mishnah does not pose a problem for Rabbeinu Tam. Recall that Rabbeinu Tam explains that when the Mishnah teaches "the beginning as sufganin", it means that it was prepared as a thin batter. Consequently, there was no shaat chiyuv when the dough was exempt. This answer appears to be like the Mishnah Rishona's answer towards the end of the article.


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