Today is the beginning of Shavuot 2017! Shavuot is the second of three pilgrimage (Passover and Shavuot) festivals to Jerusalem. It is the fiftieth day of the Omer. The holiday lands on the sixth and seventh day of the month of Sivan. The name of the holiday, Shavuot, means weeks. It was first described in Exodus 34:22:
“The pilgrimage festival of Weeks you are to make for yourselves, of the first fruits of the grain cutting.”
It is mentioned again in Deuteronomy 16:9-10:
“You shall count for yourself seven weeks; start the count of the seven weeks when the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall observe the pilgrimage festival Weeks for the Lord your G-d, offering your freewill contribution according to how the Lord your G-d has Blessed you.”
It is also described throughout other parts of the as a Harvest Festival, a day centered around fruit, and a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After the Second Temple Period, the holiday took on another meaning. It also became the anniversary of when Moses received the Law, or the Torah and the Oral Law, on Mount Sinai.
How do we celebrate Shavuot 2017?
- We stay up all night and study Torah. Some communities add the study of Kabbalistic texts because of the mystical analogy that Shavuot is the wedding between Jews and G-d when receiving Jewish Law.
- We read the story of Ruth during the day of Shavuot.
- And many eat dairy based foods during the holiday. It is said that just like milk is a basic food in our diets, so too should be the Torah for the Jews.
At a loss for what to eat on Shavuot 2017? Here are a few ideas!
Blintzes are a thin rolled pancake filled with cheese and then either fried or baked. It’s a light dish that is very popular on the holiday. If you google ‘blintzes’ you can find tens of recipes to try out. But you can always try out your Bubbie’s recipe! If you’re looking for a traditional meal during Shavuot 2017, blintzes are the way to go!
Cheesecake is another traditional dish on Shavuot. And like blintzes, cheesecakes can be made traditionally or with a modern touch. So when your sweet tooth is aching this Shavuot 2017, you’re covered with a really tasty cheesecake!
Spaghetti with Cream and Mushroom sauce
Having spaghetti with cream and mushroom sauce is a great way to have a dairy meal, while offering an actual meal. AND spaghetti with cream and mushroom sauce is really good! Who would want to miss out on that?
Sambusak is a classic Israeli dish. It can serve as a side dish, a snack, or a meal. It’s a baked flour dumpling with cheese in the middle. What to make Shavuot 2017 Israeli?! Add cheese sambusak to the menu!
Cheese burekas are another great item to add to the menu if you’re looking to have an Israeli Shavuot. Burekas are similar to sambusak, but a lot smaller. They are really great side dish or breakfast.
Salad with feta cheese
Every meal needs a salad and what better way to have a salad on Shavuot than with feta cheese in it! A salad with feta cheese is a fresh and healthy way to have a dairy meal on Shavuot 2017!
While you’re studying religious texts tonight, and celebrating the receiving of Torah, don’t forget your cheesecake and your burekas! At the heart of it all, this is Judaism. It is our central book, it’s the soul of Judaism! Shavuot celebrates one of the pilgrimages to Jerusalem, the physical center of Judaism. Have a wonderful holiday and a wonderful time celebrating some of the basic fundamentals of Judaism! Happy Shavuot 2017!