AS: Your new book focuses on amazing stories showing the power of hafrashas challah, told by Nava Ben Moshe, who has touched the lives of literally thousands through her kiruv and especially through her challah bakes. You’re a man and, I presume, not a challah baker. How do these stories speak to the lives of someone who does not bake regularly?
RNS: Now you’re making assumptions …. Just kidding, my wife is the one who does the baking. The theme in many of the stories is about the power of tefillah and finding joy in mitzvos. Those are themes for everyone, not just challah bakers. And the fact is challah is part of everyone’s life. I love seeing my wife and daughters baking challah on Thursday night. It gives the whole house an Erev Shabbos feeling, and it’s a wonderful part of preparing for Shabbos.
AS: So, tell us more about the power of hafrashas challah, and how you got involved in this project.
RNS: In all honesty, this is not my regular beat. However, the more I spoke to Mrs. Ben Moshe and heard the incredible stories that she’s witnessed, and how the mitzvah of hafrashas challah has brought so many yeshuos, the more I realized that here is a world that I am not familiar with, but which is truly powerful.
AS: So many amazing stories, each one different from the next. Any favorites?
RNS: I love the story about the former kibbutznik who finds a missing key — which convinces her to go to a challah bake and creates an unusual instance of hashgachah pratis. And the woman whose paralyzed hands are healed in a mixing bowl full of challah dough … amazing!
AS: Mrs. Ben Moshe talks about how she was just a “normal” wife and mother, and yet she became a powerhouse in kiruv. What does that tell us about our own potential?
RNS: From these stories we see that we can all rise above ourselves and do things we never believed we could. We have to be willing to leave our comfort zone. For Nava Ben Moshe, leaving the comfort zone meant agreeing to give that first shiur although she never imagined herself as a public speaker. But the more she went above and beyond what she thought she could do, the more siyata DiShmaya she merited, and that’s a major lesson for all of us.