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I recently saw by a Friday night dinner that the challah bread was dipped in salt a few times. Is there a specific amount of times to dip it, and why dip it in the first place?

  • Good question! It has to do with the fact that sacrifices all had salt on them I believe – andrewmh20 Sep 13 '15 at 4:34
  • See this article. Some people have the specific custom to dip three times, corresponding to the three mentions of the word "salt" in Vayikra 2:13 and the fact that the gematria of both the Hebrew word for salt and the Hebrew word for bread is triple that of the Tetragrammaton (the comments in the linked article attribute the second reason to the Kaf HaChayim). – Fred Sep 13 '15 at 4:34
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    See: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/13726/2246 – andrewmh20 Sep 13 '15 at 4:35
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Great question. I myself have had this question and looked it up, and I found the article Why Do We Dip the Challah Bread in Salt? to be very interesting.

To sum up what's written there:

It's dipped in salt every time bread is eaten, and not only shabbos, the reason being your table is compared to an altar, which the sacrifices brought on the altar all had salt, so too your bread should.

It is done because the bread is referred as kindness in kabbalah, and salt on the other hand is revered as severity, and we want to overpower the kindness over the severity.

It is done three times, the reason is based from kabbalah as well, bread is לחם which is the numerical value of 78, the name of g-d is 26, times 26 x 3= 78 (26 being the value of the name, and 3 is the 3 times we dip), to remind us we don't only live from the bread we eat, but also the blessing of g-d in our food.

  • The "Lechem"/Bread/Chesed (לחם) and the "Melach"/Salt/Gevurah (מלח) essentially neutralize each other. They are both derived from G-d's essence which relates back to G-d's four letter name which transcends the division of the two. This is alluded to in the actual "dipping" (הטביל) or (טבילה) which in Mispar Katan is also 26 (20 plus 5 plus 1) when including the count for the letters and word itself. Three dips reveals the common root and essence of both the salt and the bread. – Yaacov Deane Sep 16 '15 at 17:42
  • Minhag Chasam Sofer - and incidently, my minhag - is not to dip on Friday night, because there were no Korbonos brought. On a normal night, the emurim and pedarim were sacrificed; on Friday night, they were not. Accordingly, we dip every meal of the week except Shabbos eve. – chortkov2 Jul 14 at 20:56

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