The Imperfect Triple Hallah and How the Light Got Out

by Leah Hadad on October 7, 2010

The Imperfect Triple Hallah and How the Light Got Out

The double Hallah

Can Imperfection Be Perfect?

When Janet came to choose from the two ceremonial Hallahs I baked for her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah celebration, she had already known that I was disappointed with the outcome.  The double Hallah I baked first turned out to be smaller than I had envisioned, so I baked a second Hallah, tripling the recipe.  Alas, while the first Hallah came out beautifuly shaped and colored, the second one, to my horror, burst out at the seams. It looked as if two tectonic plates had shifted and pulled away from each other, and it fissured across the middle. It created a two-toned Hallah, with the white of the bread showing along the braids like a long overdue hair coloring.  My efforts to salvage it, by brushing the crack with an egg wash, so it would brown evenly, were in vain.  While the  Hallah was perfectly braided with a deep brown amber color on the edges, the middle turned brown-yellow.

I pointed to the two Hallahs on the counter and smiled sheepishly, gesturing at both Hallahs, ‘which one?’ I asked.  Janet smiled back, pointing at the perfectly shaped and rich brown double Hallah and said dismissively, ‘this one is perfect like a celebrity, it’s Hollywood. But this one…’ she pointed at the  imperfect Hallah, ‘this one is just perfect. It reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s song that there is a crack in everything that let’s the light in.’

I was touched, yet conflicted.  I found it difficult to let go of this imperfect thing I had created.   How could I let a less-than-perfect Hallah into the public eye? Or may be I had a hard time letting go of my vision of the perfect Hallah.  As I was standing there, I recalled discussing children and mothering with several mothers at school just a few days earlier.  I shared with them my two cents about parenting, that sometimes the hardest thing for a parent is to accept the child she has and let go of the child she wished she had.

‘It shows that it’s homemade.  It shows the love.  I will take this one,’  Janet said, ‘this one is perfect,’ she added as she pointed to the triple Hallah.  I happily handed her the Hallah.  I let go.

Sometimes, a crack let’s the light out, showing the love.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

From Anthem by Leonard Cohen

Here is the Triple Hallah—the ‘before’ and ‘after:’

The Imperfect Triple Hallah and How the Light Got Out

The Imperfect Triple Hallah and How the Light Got Out

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