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What is the source for the "Key Challah" Segulah (charm) that is said to bring Parnassah (prosperity)? And which is it: do you put the key in the Challah or do you make the Challah in the shape of a key? I've heard of it both ways.

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4 Answers 4

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E. Fink has an amusing post on DovBear's blog about this.

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If E. Fink cannot find a source earlier then Sefer Toda'ah then E. Fink has not done any serious research. –  Yahu Apr 13 '10 at 20:34
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Until recently I had no source for you other than a mimetic one: My mother (who is of Galician extraction) bakes the Challah on top of the house key.

Now I see in Ta'amei HaMinhagim that the custom is to make an indentation of the key in the Challah (ostensibly by pushing it into the dough and baking it that way).

The next page will also show some reasons.

Ultimately you will see there that the source is sefer Ohev Yisrael.

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the Ohev Yisrael: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20974&st=&pgnum=215 –  Curiouser Apr 29 '11 at 15:43
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The more common version I have heard is that you put the key of your house in the challah. I have no idea of the source for this (my Litvishe ancestors and I view this custom with a mixture of bemusement and scorn). I found the following article that may shed some light on it:

http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/pesach/5761/vol7no04.html

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In my quick Google search on the same topic yesterday, I came across this article with sources: http://asimplejew.blogspot.com/2007/04/guest-posting-by-talmid-shlissel.html

And then this article that argued against the minhag: http://www.alfassa.com/shlissel_challah.pdf

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