This week Jews worldwide will be celebrating Shavuot – the day the Jewish people received the Torah on Mount Sinai. You probably saw the movie….but don’t forget to read the book!
It is customary to eat dairy on Shavuot, and we are going to tell you why! Indeed, we are going to share with you many of the lesser-known reasons for eating dairy on Shavuot. Be sure to test your friends! Here goes the top 11 reasons:
We eat dairy on Shavuot because:
1) By eating at least one dairy meal during the course of the holiday –along with the traditional holiday meat meal – we are forced to use separate loaves of breads. These two different loaves of bread (one for the meat meals and one for the dairy meals) are intended to recall the special offering of two breads that were offered in the Holy Temple.
2) Since the Jewish people were given the laws of Kashrut for the first time, they then learned that the way they have been preparing meat until now wasn’t kosher…along with all their dishes! As such, they had no choice but to eat basic dairy products until they were able to once again prepare meat.
3) The Torah is compared to milk and honey, as it says in the Song of Songs 4:11.
4) Milk is symbolic of purity…and there is nothing more pure than the Torah.
5) The word for milk, in Hebrew, has the numerical value of 40, which recalls that Moses was on the mountain for 40 days before receiving the Torah.
6) The prohibition against eating milk and meat follows immediately after the commandment to observe the holiday of Shavuot in the Torah. Hence, on Shavuot, we have a dairy meal and a meat meal….being careful not to mix the two! (See Exodus 23:19)
7) Milk has traditionally been stored in simply glass or earthenware vessels…Never in fancy or elaborate containers. Likewise, only one who is humble and not haughty will merit to fully appreciate and observe the Torah.
8) Moses began nursing (i.e. drinking milk) on the same day that Shavuot is observed – the 6th of Sivan.
9) When the Jews accepted the Torah they were considered to be newly born again. What do newborns drink? Milk!
10) Some say that before the Torah it was forbidden to extract milk from a living animal for human consumption. After the Torah was given, it became permitted.
11) Another name for Mount Sinai – where the Torah was given – is Mount Gavnunim. The word Gavnunim resembles the Hebrew word for cheese: Gevina.
Wishing everyone a Chag Sameach – Happy Shavuot!