One of the things that always struck me as being particularly satisfying is now the the rituals and usher in and usher out Shabbat contain so many of the identical elements but in slightly different forms.
Both the start of the Shabbat meal and Havdalah contain wine. We start and end Shabbat with candlelight.
While bread is not part of havdalah the braided candle evokes the braided challot.
When my father used to bake challah he always added ground coriander to remember the taste of the manna in the desert. Very soon after I started baking challah regularly I decided to take that inclusion of spices further. My usually challah includes coriander, cardamon, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla. I love how after the motzi all of us sitting around the table take a bite of the challah and breathe in the scent of all of those spices. It may have had a difficult stress-filled week. You take a bite of the challah your breathe in, you breathe out, and you know it is Shabbat. Each week I see a subtle transformation in the people around my table. They take a bite, breathe in, breathe out and it's Shabbat around the table.
We are still getting our pantry back into shape post-Passover. There are some spices that we have multiple jars of because we bought new ones for Passover. In that jumble, I had forgotten to replenish our supply of coriander.
We did have a jar of mulling spices that needed to be used up and I thought it would be lovely in the challah. I suppose I could have put the spices in the coffee grinder. Instead I decided to use the mortar and pestle that came from my parent's house.
My parents had purchased it at an antique store because it charmed them. It might have been used once. I decided to put it to work.
As I pushed and rolled the pestle the scent of the spices was released into my kitchen.
I thought about the spices that live in my Havdalah spice box, and with the exception of the myrtle leaves from our lulav they are
And as a bonus this is how you can tell if you yeast has bloomed. Here it is, ring of yeast -bloom. A nice batch of challah awaits us.