It is a positive commandment to take Trumah from
dough that is made from the five grains and to give it to a Cohen. This tithe
is called Chalah.
According to most Poskim, the Mitzvah of taking
Chalah in our time is Rabbinic even in Eretz Yisrael since the majority of the
Jewish People do not live there. The Rabbonim required Chalah to be taken
outside of Eretz Yisrael so that the Mitzvah of Chalah would not be forgotten.
They did not require Trumah to be taken outside of Eretz Yisrael because,
while the mitzvah of taking Chalah pertains to anyone who prepared dough, the
mitzvah of taking Trumah pertains only to people who own land.
The mitzvah of Chalah pertains only to dough that is
owned by a Jew. Therefore, the dough of a gentile is exempt from the mitzvah
even if a Jew kneads it, and Chalah must be taken from the dough of a Jew even
if a gentile kneads it.
Chalah must be taken from dough that is owned in
partnership by a Jew and a Gentile if the portion owned by the Jew is the
minimum size from which the taking of Chalah is required. When Jews own dough
in partnership, the mitzvah of Chalah applies even if neither owns the minimum
quantity of dough from which the taking of Chalah is required, but only if
they intend to separate their portions of the dough after baking it. If they
intend to separate their portions of the dough before baking it, the, since
neither owns a sufficient amount of dough to incur the obligation of taking
Chalah, they are exempt from the mitzvah.
Since it is unclear whether the mitzvah of Chalah
pertains to flour that is kneaded in pure fruit juice, Chalah should be taken
without reciting the blessing. If even the slightest amount of water is added,
the blessing should be recited, and for that reason, it is good to add water.
There are Poskim that hold that if any one of the other 7 liquids that allow
foodstuffs to become impure is added to the flour, the blessing is recited
only when it constitutes the greater part of the liquid which forms the dough.
The obligation to take Chalah does not apply to
dough that contains less then 1200 grams of flour. The blessing is not recited
unless the dough contains at least 1670 grams according to Rav Naeh or 2250
grams according to Chazon Ish.
If Chalah is taken from dough which contains less
than 1200 grams of flour, the dough which has been designated as Chalah is not
considered Chalah. If Chalah is taken from two batches of dough, neither of
which contains enough flour to require Chalah to be taken, the dough
designated as Chalah is not considered Chalah, and if the batches are
combined, Chalah must be taken. There is no obligation to take Chalah from
dough that contains less than 1300 grams of flour, even if it has risen and
appears to contain a larger quantity of flour.
It is forbidden to knead dough in small quantities
for the purpose of avoiding the obligation of taking Chalah. It is permissible
to prepare a small quantity of dough when a small quantity is all that is
needed. (The dough for matzah is prepared in quantities too small to require
Chalah to avoid the possibility of the dough becoming chametz.)
Women customarily made a point of baking on Erev
Shabbes in sufficient quantities to incur the obligation of taking Chalah. If
a large quantity of Chalah is not required, it is better to bake once in
several weeks (placing the chalahs in a freezer to keep them fresh) than to
bake every week and forgo the mitzvah of taking Chalah.