Receive weekly insights from the Chief Rabbi
Office of the Chief Rabbi

Vayikra: Adding salt to bread helps us to improve our characters

Share this article:


Adding salt to bread helps us to improve our characters.

How can this be the case? The Torah in Parshat Vayikra introduces us to the mincha, the ‘meal’ offering which everyone could afford. With regard to the mincha the Torah tells us that it was not to become chametz. No honey nor any yeast was to be added. Salt, however, was to be added to all offerings.

Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l who was Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Telz gives a beautiful peirush. He explains that when yeast is added to dough, it helps the dough to rise but the yeast is an external additive. Honey gives food a sweeter taste but the honey too is an external additive. Salt however is different. When salt is added to food it becomes an integral part of that food and it draws out the flavour which was already there and enhances that flavour.


Therefore, said Rav Gifter, we have here a powerful message from the Torah with regard to the building of our characters. In order for us to achieve our korban, to come closer to Hashem, let us not ‘add yeast’ – let us not add certain dimensions to our character which will distort who we are. Neither should we strive to ‘add honey’ whereby we will make ourselves sweeter but we only do so by borrowing from an outside source.

Instead, let’s work on what we already have. Let’s ‘add salt’ to our characters to bring out the talent that Hashem has given us, and succeed by enhancing what we have in a latent form.


This is something which we’re reminded of every single time we sit down to have a meal. When we make hamotzi, the blessing over the bread, salt is added. Every single day, this gives us a reminder of how we truly have a daily opportunity to enhance and to improve our characters. And the best way to do that is to thank Hashem for what he has given us and to maximise the potential that is within each and every one of us.

Shabbat shalom.



To receive weekly insights from the Chief Rabbi, subscribe using the form below.