'Key' Challot to Make Their Appearance This Shabbat
This Shabbat is known among Jewish communities around the world as “the Key Shabbat,” after the unique key-shaped challot that many families use. Once a custom in many European Jewish communities, the custom has found new life in modern Israel, as many households prepare a key-shaped challah for the first Shabbat after Passover.
The custom is brought down in several books and is especially popular in hareidi communities – but many modern communities observe it as well. According to rabbis, the key is an expression of prayer for the blessings of G-d, as the “key” to a life of material plenty is in His hand.
Some versions of the custom require the placing of an actual key inside the dough, with the key actually baked into the challah, while others prefer the key-shaped bread in observance of the custom. Still others contend that it is sufficient to attach a key to an already-baked challah before it is brought to the Sabbath table.