Those of you who are familiar with Jewish holidays, or read my blog regularly, know that since Passover we have been counting the days of the Omer. The Omer is the seven week (or 49 days for those of you who are counting, see… counting! it was in the title!) period between Passover and Shavout. At Passover we celebrated our Exodus from Egypt and the liberation and freedom that came with it. At Shavout, we celebrate and remember our time at Mt. Sinai, when G-d gave down his Ten Commandments, and the rest of his Torah (there are A LOT more than 10 rules people! See, counting again!).
This was obviously a great celebration for the Jewish people, who so recently had been slaves, were now being exalted as G-d’s chosen people, worthy to receive his Torah and practice Judaism. Many a Sage has compared Shavout, and our receiving of the Torah, to a wedding ceremony. Instead of Bride and Groom, you have G-d and His people, vowing to each other to keep and respect each other. We the Jewish people, swore on the lives of our children and future generations to uphold G-d’s laws and customs, and in return G-d bestowed upon us the majesty that is the Torah, and all that it encompasses.
Pretty heavy for newly freed slaves. In fact, if you’ve seen “The Ten Commandments”, you know the old standby with Charlton Heston, then you will know that we didn’t handle it so well when Moses went up to Mt. Sinai to commune with G-d. That is why in fact, that this is special holiday to include children in. It is upon their merit that we received the Torah in the end, for the current generation was not ready.
So we know that it’s a special day, obviously, but what about the food? Well, on this holiday, the tradition is to eat dairy meals, not the meat meals that you normally expect for a big, important holiday. Why is this? (C’mon, you knew there would be a reason!). This is because before we were blessed with receiving the Torah, we did not have the complete rules of kosher. Once receiving the Torah, we now knew we could only have certain animals, slaughtered in a certain way, etc. All of our meat pots had to be made kosher! So to resolve this temporary food setback, we ate milk!
So in honour of this, one of the most special and holy occurrences in Judaism, I present to you a week of dairy dishes sure to hit the spot with your guests! Enjoy and Chag Samayach!