The holiday of Shavuot, best known as the time when we commemorate the Giving of the Torah, begins this year on Saturday evening, June 4 and concludes on Monday, June 6. Of the three pilgrimage festivals in the Jewish calendar, Shavuot is the most important because the Ten Commandments defines who we are as a Jewish people and is a blueprint for us to live according to the laws of Torah, expanded upon in the Talmud and other writings. We are commanded to be “a light among nations”, setting an example of moral and ethical behavior for all to follow.
Shavuot, like Passover and Sukkot, was a time in ancient Jerusalem, when Jews from all over Israel would gather near the Temple to bring their first fruits or grains, known as bikkurim as an offering to the Kohanim. In modern times, it is customary to spend a whole night studying Torah as we no longer offer sacrifices in the Temple.
On a lighter note, every Jewish holiday has a different food that is associated with it and Shavuot is no exception. It is traditional to eat dairy foods such as blintzes and cheesecake, made with milk of course. One reason for this is that the Torah nourishes us just as milk does. We are also reminded that Israel is the land of milk and honey and the words of Torah are as sweet as honey. So enjoy your favorite flavor of cheesecake along with some delicious blintzes. Chag Sameach and Happy Shavuot.
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