In The Land of Milk and Honey
Sunday night began the two-day Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the time when the Jews commemorate their being given the Torah, and customarily eat dairy foods. As a food blog, I wanted to spend a little time on why it is that only dairy foods are consumed on this special and very meaningful holiday.
If you know the basics of the Jewish kosher laws (as they pertain to food), you know that you can not mix dairy and meat in the same meal. But what you might not know is that not all meat (aside from the more obvious: pork) is considered kosher. In order for beef or other kosher meats to even be considered kosher, it has to be slaughtered in a special manner that the Torah designates. To ensure this process is being upheld, all kosher meat is supervised by a certified rabbi from the moment of slaughter to the final stages of packaging.
Now why am I talking about meat when I am supposed to be talking about dairy?
Explanation and recipes after the jump!
Well, one of the basic reasons why dairy is eaten on Shavuot is because this day was the first time Jews had to follow these kosher laws in regards to meat. Being given the Torah for the first time, their houses and households were not yet prepared to serve meat according to Kosher law. Therefore, since dairy requires no special preparation according to the Torah, they were now allowed to eat dairy and served dairy that night instead. Even though Jews these days have access to kosher meat before the holiday, they continue to eat diary on Shavuot to commemorate and relive this special day.
Before the Jews received the Torah, they were brought to Mt. Sinai in Israel – what the Torah calls: “the land of milk and honey”. This is important to note as for the first time these two forms of nourishment were available both physically and symbolically. So why not take advantage with a dairy celebration?
I’ve put together a list of some dairy recipes to help commemorate Shavuot (or to just enjoy because they’re good anyway).
For another great menu, check out Leah from Jew and the Carrot’s “What To Cook For Shavuot“.
1. By no means do I consider myself a position of authority in Jewish explanation. I tried to keep my reasoning consistent with knowledge from my growing up and extensive research from reputable sites.
2. The picture above is simply an abstraction, not part of a recipe noted here.