Challah is a braided bread made with eggs made specifically for the Sabbath and for G-d’s appointed times “holidays.” It has been made for Shabbat at least for 3500 plus years, ever since the Manna in the wilderness at the time of the Exodus. At that time the name for the bread was “berches” (some Jewish people still call their Shabbat bread “berches”.)
The name “challah”, with its braids was adopted from Germany, Austria, and Bohemia in the 1500’s, then migrated to Poland, Eastern Europe, and Russia. On festive occasions a blessing is said over two loaves, symbolizing the two portions of manna that was distributed on Fridays to the children of Israel during the wilderness wanderings.
A white napkin “decorative challah cover” is used to cover the Challah, it represents the manna spread over the ground each morning after the morning dew evaporated. Poppy and sesame seeds are spread over the top of the Challah for the same reason representing the manna spread over the face of the ground.
John 6:31-36 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.'” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” 35 Jesus said to them, ” I am the bread of life ; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
47 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 ” I am the bread of life. 49 ” Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 ” I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (Ref:1)
There are many similarities between Manna and Yeshua:
1. Manna cannot be stored but needs to be eaten immediately. 2. Yeshua is the living Word of G-d, your walk with Him is present tense and He can not be stored. 3. Manna must be collected by the person eating it. It cannot be gathered for someone else. 4. Yeshua’s gift of life can only be collected by you personally in direct relationship with Him. 5. Given daily, Yeshua is the bread of life and we need to focus on Him and His Word daily. 6. Must go out and collect it, diligently, and presumably on your knees. 7. Yeshua needs to be sought after diligently, with labor, and on your knees in prayer. 8. The place the manna was first given was in the Wilderness of Sin. 9. Yeshua was given to us while we walked in the Wilderness of Sin, murmuring, and in our degenerate state of being.
Reference: 1. See Exodus 16:4, 15, 21; Numbers 11:8; Psalm 105:40; John 6:31, 48. (NASB)
Reference: 2. Shira Wiener & Ayelet Yifrach, The Secret of Challah, Wikipedia, other internet sources. Chuck Missler.