- Question: [Thursday 15th Marcheshvan 5782]
I have always used the measurement of 1.666 kilo of flour to perform Hafrashas Challah with a blessing, and would do this for all types of flour that I would use, whether whole-wheat oat or rye. Recently someone told me that by whole-wheat you actually need to use two kilo, and that other flours have a different measurement. Is this accurate?
This is [only] partially accurate, as I will explain:
Whole-wheat flour: There is no significant difference in measurement between whole-wheat flour and regular white flour, and by both the measurement is 1.666 kg to remove Challah with a blessing, as ruled by Rabbi Avrom Chaim Na’ah, and so was done by all Jewry until recently. Nonetheless, due to a recent change in the whole wheat flour production process in which the bran is separated from the grain prior to the grinding, some are stringent to measure store-bought whole-wheat flour with 1,940 grams in suspicion that perhaps the wheat germ and bran are not considered to join the actual flour for the measurement of the 1.6 kg, and they therefore add another 15% more flour into the measurement in order to be certain that there is 1.6 kg of actual flour in the mixture. Others do not suspect for this at all, and still measure 1.666 for both white and whole-wheat flour, as was always done. Practically, in my opinion, one should be stringent although those who are lenient have upon them to rely. [The following flour companies in Israel have attested to not separate the bran from the flour during the grinding process, and hence are not relevant to the above recent stringency of requiring 1.940 kg: Dagan, Man, Al Hamishkal, Yitzhar, Mehudar. However, the flour company called “Yerushalayim” does separate the bran from the grain and then reinsert it.]
Other grain flour: By all grain flour other than wheat, there may be a different measurement for Hafrashas Challah than the classical 1.6 kg, being that the weight of other flours may be more or less than regular wheat flour. Some have measured this themselves and put out different weight charts for the different type of flours for the sake of doing Hafrashas Challah with a blessing. [i.e. 1.391 kg for rye flour, 1.640 for spelt flour, 1.197 for oat flour, and 1.419 for barley flour.] Nonetheless, the best thing rather than relying on the weight measurements [even for regular white wheat flour!] is to simply purchase a container that contains the volume of 2,500cc [i.e. 2,500 ml of water], and use it to measure the flour in volume rather than in weight, which indeed is the true way to measure all Torah measurements. Such a container is available for purchase in Israel for 8 Shekel on the link below.
How to measure the flour using volume in a container: One should take a bowl which holds 2,500 milliliters of water [and best if it contains 2,510 milliliters] and fill it with flour leisurely until its very top, without pressing the flour down. [One should shake the bowl lightly to spread all the flour out without leaving any air pockets.] If there is enough flour to reach the mark of 2,500 cc, then challah is separated with a bracha from all types of grains [except by store purchased whole wheat in which some add an additional 15% as explained above]. If one is only using the amount of flour that is between the volume of 2,423 grams of water and 2500 (but not 2500), then the challah is separated without a bracha.
Explanation regarding whole-wheat flour: Intrinsically, there is no real difference in measurement between whole-wheat flour and regular white flour, and by both the measurement is 1.666 kg as ruled by Rabbi Avrom Chaim Na’ah. However, a few years ago  the Hashgacha of the Eideh Hachareidis raised a concern that they had just discovered that some manufacturers of whole-wheat flour separate the bran from the flour and then reinsert it back into the flour to consider it whole-wheat. This separation and then re-insertion of the bran enters the question of whether this bran can count as part of the minimum measurement of flour or is considered a separate substance. [Ideally, the ruling in the Mishneh, and Poskim, is that once the bran has been removed it no longer joins the Shiur Challah, and so explicitly rules Admur in Hilchos Pesach.] Because of this, they suggested that by all store-bought whole-wheat flour of which one is unaware of how the flour is manufactured, that one should add an additional 15% to the above 1.6 kg measurement [to take into account the approximate 15% of added bran] and hence separate from 1,940 grams of whole-wheat flour. Nonetheless, aside for the fact that many factories which have been contacted have attested that they do not use the above method of separating the bran and then reinserting it, in addition, it is not at all clear that this bran cannot be considered like regular flour and count towards the measurement of 1.6 kg, as some argue that in today’s times it is common even amongst the rich to eat whole-wheat bread, and it is considered of higher quality than white bread, and therefore perhaps the above law in the Mishneh is not applicable regarding todays bran that is added to the wholewheat flour. Accordingly, the stringency suggested by the Eida Hachareidis is not universal and some continue to measure with the 1.6 kg measurement also for whole-wheat flour even if they are sure that it was separated in the process and then reinserted, and certainly if this is a mere doubt.
Explanation regarding other grain flour: The classic measurement of 1.6 kg of flour for Hafrashas Challah was given specifically regarding wheat flour which was the most common flour back then. The common amount of wheat flour that enters a container that contains a volume of 2500 cc [i.e. the true Shiur Challah], weighs approximately 1.6 kg, and hence that is the classic number that we are told to separate Challah from with a blessing. However, in truth this weight number would not be accurate by other grains, as the flour of other grains may weigh more or less than wheat, and therefore require a greater or lesser amount of weight of flour for them to meet the minimum measurement of Shiur Challah with a blessing, which is the amount of flour that can enter a container that has a volume of 2500 cc. Accordingly, rather than rely on different weights that people have taken for the different flours, one should simply purchase a container that contains 2500 mL of volume, and do as stated above, as when one has 2500 mL of flour one always separates Challah with a blessing irrelevant of its weight, and irrelevant of type of flour.
Explanation regarding measuring in volume: As stated above, all Torah measurements are measured in volume and not weight, and hence ideally, the measurement for Shiur Challah is to be measured in volume and not weight, and the weight measurements were only given to make it easier for people. Thus, one who has ability to measure it in volume should do so rather than rely on the weights, as explicitly stated in Shiureiy Torah of Rav Chaim Na’ah, who writes that only as a second option should the weight of 1.6 kg be used.
Sources: See regarding the general Shiur Challah of 1.6 kg and the various opinions mentioned: Michaber Y.D. 324:1; Shach 324:3; Mahriy Viyal chapter 153; Tzemach Tzedek Yoreh Deah chapter 323; Aruch Hashulchan 324:10; Shiureiy Torah Chapter 3:3-4; Yechaveh Daas 4:55; Koveitz Zalman Shimon p. 77; Piskeiy Teshuvos 242:11; Hakashrus 14:7; See regarding the law by other grains: Rambam Pirush Hamishnayos Challah 2:6; Tashbeitz 2:291-4; Shiureiy Torah 3 footnote 8; See regarding the issue with whole wheat flour if the bran is removed and then reinserted him: Madrich Hakashrus of Eida 5755; Mishneh Challah 2:6; Michaber Y.D. 324:3; O.C. 454:1; Admur 454:1-2; M”A 454:1; P”M 454 A”A 1 and M”Z 1; Aruch Hashulchan 324:15; Hafrashas Challah Kehalacha chapter 3 footnote 71 and 75; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:71; Kinyan Torah 2:83 See regarding measuring in volume, within a vessel, versus weight: Rambam Pirush Hamishnayos Challah 2:6; Shiureiy Torah 3:1 and footnote 8