Beit Midrash

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Shavuot
To dedicate this lesson

Must I Eat Dairy Foods on Shavuot, & Why?


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Sivan 2 5781
There is a custom to eat some dairy food on Shavuot, for which at least 10 reasons are given. These include: a) At Matan Torah (which was on a Shabbat), there was no time to kasher utensils for slaughtering animals, so the only option was to eat dairy; b) the numerical value of chalav/milk adds up to 40, the number of days Moshe spent receiving the Torah; c) Milk, the food of infants, represents purity, a by-product of Torah study; d) Moshe was taken out of the Nile on Shavuot & could be nursed only by his mother Yocheved; hence the eating of milk products reminds us of this.

Some hold that we should eat our usual (meat) meals on Shavuot, only adding some dairy dishes over the course of the Chag. BUT, as a general principle, remember that no one is required to eat ANY food - whether meat or dairy - which lessens his or her personal Simchat YomTov - joy of the holiday. So pareve, vegetarian or vegan is OK, too!
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