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In this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Va’Ayra, we read about seven of the Ten plagues and Pharoah’s back-and-forth between promising the Jews permission to leave Egypt, and his subsequent “change of heart,” forbidding them from leaving.

God promises Moses that although He will “harden Pharoah’s heart,” eventually the Jewish People will be freed from Pharoah’s rule.

In light of this theme, I propose baking heart-shaped sugar cookies and bringing them to your Shabbat table! Introducing Pharoah’s Hardened Heart Cookies!

Makes fifteen 5-inch cookies.


4 c all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 c margarine (or butter)
2 c sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder; set aside. Cream together margarine and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.

4. Add vanilla and lemon juice and beat until well combined.

5. Add flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide in half and pat into flattened rectangles; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

6. Roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 5-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts.

7. Transfer to baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes and then bake until cookies are golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch.

8. Decorate!


Elisheva Kupferman lives in Jerusalem and loves Torah, Shabbat and friends. She entertains them with her famous Torah-themed shabbat meals. When she is not entertaining, she works for at Makom, an innovative educational think tank. Read more of Elisheva’s ideas at