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  • Gabriella Kahen

Dvar Torah: Shavuot

This past Monday and Tuesday we celebrated Shavuot, commemorating the revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai to the Jewish people. Shavuot always takes place on the 50th day after the 49 days of counting the Omer. To celebrate, many Jews stay up all night to study Torah; it is our way of preparing ourselves to receive the wisdom of the Torah. One of the well known customs of Shavuot is eating dairy. Our tables are filled with cheesecake, cheese blintzes, baked ziti, and other delicious dairy meals. Many of us, however, are unaware of why we have this custom. One explanation is the following: after receiving the Torah, the Jews became obligated to observe the laws of Kashrut. Because the Torah was given on Shabbat, though, no cattle could be slaughtered nor could utensils be made kosher. Being so, on that day Jews solely ate dairy; therefore, we do the same. A more technical reason is the following: the Torah is likened to nourishing milk. The Hebrew word for mile is chalav. The gematria, or numerical value, of chalav is forty. The number forty represents the number of days Mosheh spent on Mount Sinai before receiving the Torah. To remind ourselves of this, we eat dairy. It’s a great excuse for us to eat some of our favorite foods!

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