Monday, May 19, 2014

Dairy for Shavuot


Why do we customarily eat dairy on Shavuot?

Numerous reasons are suggested, including:
  • To ensure that we will have two distinct cooked foods, like the egg and zroa of the seder plate, since we will have a dairy meal for the custom, and a meat meal for the general mitzvah of eating meat on Yom Tov. Also, this will provide two loaves of bread, parallel to the shtei halechem -  two loaves of bread brought as a korban on Shavuos. (Rama Orach Chaim 494:3, and see Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 1:160)
  • After the Torah was given, the Jews would have needed many steps to make a meat meal, both in preparing the meat and in preparing new utensils. Therefore, they made a dairy meal, which required fewer steps. (Mishneh Berurah 494:12)
  • Shir haShirim 4:11, "Honey and milk are beneath your tongue", is explained to refer to Torah. (Mishneh Berurah 494:13; and see Devarim Rabbah 7:3)

According to Rama (Yoreh Deah 97:1), some people actually make their bread dairy for the dairy meal of Shavuos. Even though we are normally prohibited from making dairy bread [lest one eat it with meat], this is not a concern at the dairy meal of Shavuos, since a limited quantity is prepared, and for a limited time.

Have a great day,

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