Shavuot: Revisited

1 month ago Emilio Chayo 0

Once again we come closer to another wonderful Jewish holiday, and what better holiday is there but Shavuot? The day of the year you break your  diet, and stuff your face with cheesecake and ice cream and don’t even feel too bad about it because, hey! It’s Shavuot! You are supposed to do it!

Shavuot is much more than “that holiday you eat cheese and stay up all night;” it has multiple traditions attached to it, traditions that started from wonderful pieces of history that not many know of. Worry not my friends, CTeen Connection has your back, and without further adieu, here are some traditions we follow in Shavuot and why they even started to begin with.

 

Tradition No. 1: Dairy

The most well known of the Shavuot traditions, featuring some of those awesome dishes your grandma doesn’t want to give you the recipe for, such as: Cheese Blintzes, (dairy) Kreplach, Sutlach (rice, milk pudding!), Regelach (cream cheese cookies), and Atayef.

 

We eat milk for many reasons, some of which are:

 

  • Before given the Torah, the Hebrews did not follow the laws of shechita or kashrut, when the Hebrews were eventually given the Torah, they did not have any time to prepare the animals or the instruments necessary to make shechita so they opted to eat milk foods instead.
  • King Solomon compared the Torah and milk, writing: “Like honey and milk, it lies under your tongue”
  • The gematria of the word chalav (חלב‬, milk) is 40, which allures to the 40 days and 40 nights Moshe spent in the Heavens before bringing Torah down to the world.

 

Tradition No 2: all Night Torah Study

This tradition comes from one funny story and one interesting bit from Talmud:

 

  • The day the Jewish people were given the Torah, they overslept and Gd had to “wake them up” to study Torah. We rectify this mistake by studying Torah all night long.
  • Maimonides (famous Torah scholar) wrote: “Even though it is a mitzvah to learn both during the day and at night, one gains the majority of wisdom at night”, and so because we wish to retain as much Torah in our minds for the next year and dozens more, we model what we hope will be our first night of studying Torah.

 

Tradition No. 3: Greenery

This last tradition has persisted since the times of Esther and Mordechai, and it is a commemoration of a miracle:

  • The Torah was given in the desert, and while it was going to be given, the cattle belonging to the Jews had no place to eat and rest at, and so the area around the Hebrews temporarily turned into fertile land with an abundance of greenery.

 

  • Another reason why the custom started is Moshe’s basket was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter on the 7th of in the  Jewish month of Sivan, the second day of Shavuot. To commemorate, we reproduce the beauty of the Nile decorating our houses and synagogues with greenery.

 

These are some of the many of traditions and customs traditional to Shavuot, from all of us from CTeen Connection, Jag (Chag) Sameach!