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Yesterday, I noticed on my Jewish community email group that someone was sponsoring a group challah "bake off" for refu'ah shleima (speedy recovery) for a group of ill people.

I have seen these announcements frequently. I am unfamiliar with this custom. How does baking challah provide a blessing for the ill? When did this custom originate? Is this effective only in a group setting, or can an individual baking challah have the same effect?

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    Are they perhaps donating these Challahs to the needy? – Double AA Jan 5 '17 at 16:42
  • @DoubleAA I'll see if I can ask. The posting made no mention of this aspect, so I don't think so. Why would that make a difference, though? – DanF Jan 5 '17 at 16:44
  • Giving charity is a big Mitzva which is often associated with getting prayers answered. Baking bread is of no particular religious value. If they aren't planning on donating, they should really just forget baking and change the event to something that does help charity. – Double AA Jan 5 '17 at 16:46
  • Its probably referring to when she prays when she takes challah from the dough. – Y K Jan 5 '17 at 16:47
  • They likely separated halla, and assumed that this mitsvah had theurgic significance. Note, that if this was the case, they would probably lose their share in the world to come, according to Rambam. (source, source). – mevaqesh Jan 5 '17 at 16:54