I know Whole Foods supermarkets have challah bread. I am not Jewish. But I once bought challah bread at Whole Foods and ate the whole bread in one sitting. It tasted like . . . bread. I am aware that the Hui people in China would have Muslim-friendly restaurants, and non-Muslim Chinese people would eat in them. But Whole Foods is different. Whole Foods is just a non-religious American supermarket chain. Can Jewish customers buy challah bread at Whole Foods?

  • To VTCers: What is psak-seeking or unclear about this question?
    – DonielF
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 4:42

2 Answers 2


Jewish law requires that Jews restrict their food consumption to food that is kosher. Food from non-Jewish supermarket chains can be kosher, and generally Jews will eat it if it is certified as such. There are a large number of agencies that certify food as kosher, and some are considered more reliable or higher quality than others. You can recognize a food as certified kosher it if contains one of the symbols shown on this list of certifications approved by the Chicago Rabbinical Council (a well-known and widely-accepted kosher authority).

Some of the more common symbols that you'll see on a product that signify that it is kosher are the Orthodox Union's symbol:

Orthodox Union symbol

and OK Kosher's symbol:

OK Kosher symbol

For bread specifically, there are certain additional stringencies that some Jews observe (i.e. pas Yisrael and yoshon). The packaging will typically indicate if the bread meets the requirements for these additional stringencies.

  • Just because it has ou this does not mean it's pas yisroel fit for Shabbos purposes, so Jewish people should rather make their own challah or buy from a Jewish owned bakery that takes the Challah portion.
    – yosefkorn
    Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 11:16
  • @yosefkorn Pas Yisroel and yoshon are explicitly addressed in the answer. Also, this question isn't about Shabbos.
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 13:46
  • I'm sorry but in most places Non kosher stores for mass produced commercially baked products the ou sign is unnoticable and there is no indication of Pas Yisroel, and what happens in most of the world where ou is not at all on the pakage including in the questioners case? you have no basis for your answer rather you base yourself on the fact that in atlanta where you live mass baked bread is Pas Yisroel. Also the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch specifically says to get bread owned and baked by a Jew that has challa taken from it. This is not the case when its owned by a Gentile
    – user15464
    Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 19:57
  • @user15464 if there's no hechsher it's not kosher. That's clear from my answer. I'm not sure what your point is.
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 20:51
  • 1
    @user15464 the kitzur (and others) recommend pas yosroel for Shabbos but this is not a universal practice and certainly cannot be considered obligatory. I never said supermarket bread was pas Yisroel and I did mention that some Jews observe these additional stringencies. Challah can be eaten any day of the week and the questioner gave no indication that he/she was asking about Shabbos or had even heard of it.
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 21:56

"Challah" is a coined term for the bread Jewish people have a tradition to eat on Shabbos. The name Challah is actually in reference to the portion that is separated for the ritually pure Cohen (when baking minimum 2.2kg of flour) but nowadays a Cohen may not eat his portion because we don't have the ashes of the red cow to purify ourselves, so wrap that piece and dispose of it in a respectful way.

Even though during the week Jewish people are permitted to buy bread that is Kosher from superstores to eat as this is Pas Palter (bread baked en masse, see SA Rema YD 112,2), on Shabbos we have a tradition either ideally for the woman of the house to bake her own bread, or if not possible to buy bread baked by Jews (i'm assuming this would not be the case in "whole foods" and other superstores chains) where the portion for the Cohen challa has been Separated as a sign of respect for the holy Shabbos day.

The reason why the Mitzva of seperating challa was placed on the Jewish woman, is because Eve cause Adam who was the Challa separation of the earth (i.e the most holy servant of G-d just like the Cohen is the Holy servant of G-d) to sin and lose his life so women rectify that sin by separating part of the bread which is Holy for the Cohen.

Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72,6

אם אוכלים בימי החול פת פלטר עובד כוכבים, שיש ליזהר לאכול ביום השבת קודש פת ישראל

כבוד שבת – יאפו בביתו, כדי שתקיים האשה מצות הפרשת חלה. כי אדם הראשון נברא בערב שבת, והיה חלתו של עולם, והאשה בחטאה – איבדתו; ועל כן צריכה היא לתקן דבר זה

  • I'm not sure your assumption that Whole Foods' challah is pas palter is correct. I don't know where Whole Foods sources their challah from but certainly other supermarkets do offer challah which is pas Yisrael. For example, Trader Joe's (at least in the Midwestern United States) sources their challah from North Shore Bakery in Chicago which is pas Yisrael. The Kroger near my house in Atlanta offers pas Yisrael challah.
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 15:32
  • 1
    Also, eating pas Yisrael on Shabbos is a widespread practice, but I certainly don't think it's a chiyuv. Not everybody is strict about this.
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 15:35
  • 1
    @Daniel i can't help thinking that you didn't read my post as you prefer you own answer which is understandable. I never defined whole foods for sure as pas palter i just assumed it would be so if it was kosher (we should assume an average superstore unless otherwise known does not have Jewish people turning the oven on) . I said we have a tradition not an obligation to use bread baked by a Jew that has had Challa taken from it
    – user15464
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 15:57
  • 2
    I did read your post. I don't think it's exactly wrong. Just not very clear. That's why I posted my own answer, which I think is easier to understand (especially for someone who is unfamiliar with basic halakhic terminology).
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 16:09
  • 1
    I know you didn't assert that bread from Whole Foods is definitely pas palter. I was just commenting that I don't think your assumption is really a given. These breads are often not baked in the supermarket. They're sourced from somewhere else and put in supermarket-branded packaging.
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 16:11

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