Special Segulah for The Shabbat After Pesach
There is a custom to bake key-shaped challah in honor of the Shabbat after Pesach.
This was the time of year when the Jews entered the Holy Land and the manna stopped falling from heaven. Then they began to eat from the produce of the land and to earn their livelihood in a natural manner. The key-shaped challah symbolizes the key to livelihood which is in G-d’s hand, and our prayers to Him to open the gates of livelihood for us.
Another reason, based on Kabbalistic teachings, is that at midnight, on Seder night, various spiritual influences depart from the world. By working to achieve an enhanced spiritual level during the sefirat ha’omer period, we gradually bring them back. The key-shaped challah symbolizes the effort made on our part, as it is written, “Make for me an opening like the eye of a needle and I will open for you an opening as broad as a spacious hall.” We create an opening by observing Shabbat, and we hope G-d will open for us His bountiful treasure house, as it is written, “He had commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven” (Psalms 78:23).