Shavuot is one of the biggest Jewish holidays that you may have never heard of before, or if you did, it was peripheral. The reason for that, most likely, is because it happens right at the end or just after the end of the school year. If you were confirmed, your ceremony might have been on Shavuot, which would be fitting since Shavuot is THE holiday commemorating receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai.
And, like most Jewish holidays, Shavuot has a special food category associated with it: dairy. Think blintzes, kugels and cheesecake. Not that there is anything wrong with cheesecake or blintzes, but why dairy? There are many thoughts and interpretations. It could be, as noted in Exodus, because the Israelites were promised the “land flowing with milk and honey.” Some aver that when the Jews received the Torah on the Sabbath, they were obligated to observe the laws of kashrut, which meant they couldn’t slaughter cattle for a festive meal so they ate dairy instead. For those who like to look at numerology for guidance, when the value of the Hebrew letters in the word chalav (milk) are added together, they equal 40 – the number of days Moses spent on Mount Sinai receiving the Torah.
Whatever reason you prefer, a hearty helping of sweet blintzes or cheesecake provides enough fuel to pull an all-nighter studying Torah, which is how the holiday is customarily observed. This year, there won’t be any in-person all-nighters offered at the Boulder synagogues, but there will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate Shavuot.
Haver, the Rabbinic Council of Boulder, will host a virtual program at 10:00 am on Sunday, May 16th to get participants in the mindset to receive the Torah. The free Zoom program, “Preparing the Vessel: Receiving the Torah Then and Now, from Exodus 19 to Covid-19” will incorporate Torah study, meditation, music, and more. Think of it as stretching your mental muscles before joining the greater Denver Jewish Community’s virtual program later in the evening. There will be programs for kids, teens adults lasting from dinner time into the wee hours of the night.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to supply your own cheesecake.
Register Here>> for Haver’s Preparing the Vessel: Receiving the Torah Then and Now (10am-11:15am).
Register Here>> for the greater Jewish Community virtual Shavuot celebration Rebirth, Renewal and Revelation: A Community Shavuot Experience (5pm-11:30pm).
Click Here>> for an entertaining and informative summation of what is Shavuot from Bim Bam.