In general there are 3 ways of coming close to God: most common, either through emotion or intellect, but then Judaism adds: or to be "similar" [=close] to Him. The greatest gift that He could give us is the "Tzelem Elohim", or capability of imitateo dei, being Godly. The she'ur discusses the advantages & disadvantages of each approach to Him. Most importantly, we can't understand His Essence, but we can amd should understand His actions. This is the ultimate in both the Rambam's rational and also the kabbalistic approach to Judaism. Rav Kook explains that the 13 traits of God, as well as the 10 sfirot, all detailus what to emulate. This has far-reaching ramifications for prayer, study as well as defining our goal and potential in life!
Prior to Shavuos in previous years, I published articles on the topics of producing and eating dairy bread, how to make kosher cheese, whether Shavuos is preceded by Parshas Bamidbar or Parshas Naso, and about the laws of making pareve foods. All of these articles can be accessed on RabbiKaganoff.com
This year, I decided to distribute an article by my close friend, Rabbi Avraham Rosenthal, on the Ashkenazic custom of reciting Akdamus on Shavuos.
There is a unique mitzvah of joy, both spiritual and physical, on Chag Shavuot* When Shavuot falls on Motzei Shabbat as it does this year, Seudah Shilishit should be eaten earlier, and preparations from Shabbat to Chag are prohibited * Showering on Shabbat and Chag * When, and how to properly prepare and light the candles for Chag Shavuot * ‘Birkot HaShachar’ for someone who remained awake all night * Eating and drinking during the night of Shavuot and before the morning prayers * The custom of eating dairy foods as an expression of the sweetness of the Torah, and its ability to turn impure to pure
During the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, we will not be fulfilling any mitzvot that are specific to this holiday – not mitzvot from the Torah and not even mitzvot derabbanan. (In the time of the Beit Hamikdash, there was a special korban brought, called shtei halechem.)
The joy of the Shavuot holiday is both spiritual and material. A true enjoyment of the holiday this year entails knowing how to go from Sabbath observance into yomtov, in addition to the laws of the yomtov itself.
There is a widespread custom to eat at least some milchig meals on Shavuos. A housewife asked me this question: since this year Shavuos follows on the heels of Shabbos, and she has no large pareve pots, is there a way for her to prepare side dishes or desserts that she may then serve with both her meat and her dairy meals?