Why do many people eat dairy on the holiday of Shavuos? Is it okay to eat meat on Shavuos?
Molly (sent by e-mail)
You are asking an excellent question that has more than one answer.
Here are two:
The Jews had just been given the Torah and therefore needed to kosher their kitchens and prepare their dishes for a kosher home. They couldnt prepare meat dishes that day. What do you think they ate? You guessed it dairy (which requires no special preparation).
Moshe was born on the 7th of Adar. His mother hid him from the Egyptians for 3 months until the 6th of Sivan. On that day Bitya the daughter of Pharoah found him in the basket and gave him to Yocheved, Moses mother, for nursing. Moses refused to nurse from an Egyptian woman. Therefore, we recall his merit by eating milk dishes on Shavuos.
Now, this does not mean we forget about meat during Shavuos? Like any festival, we honor the day by eating meat. Some people eat a milk menu, wait a half hour to an hour, and then eat meat. And dont forget your exercise program after Shavuos . . .
Why was the Torah given in the desert? Wouldnt it make more sense to give it in a special place, say Jerusalem?
Moshe (sent by e-mail)
G-d wanted to teach us a valuable lesson. The Torah was given to the Jewish nation.
To Jews throughout the world.
Had the Torah been given in Jerusalem, the Jews living outside Jerusalem and certainly those living outside Israel may have felt less connected to the Torah as compared to those living in Jerusalem. That explains why G-d gave it in a desert. No one has a stronger claim to the Torah than anyone else.
Fine. But why specifically on Mount Sinai? There are many mountains far more majestic than Mt. Sinai.
Moshe (sent by e-mail)
G-d is teaching us another great lesson: humility.
G-d did not give the Torah on the tallest mountain.
G-d chose a small mountain Mount Sinai because humility is the key to success in learning and applying the Torah. G-d likes little things.
More of the exchange with Moshe in this week’s IJN print edition. Get your copy by phoning Carol at (303) 861-2234.
SEND your questions to DearTzviling@ijn.com to be answered with wit, wisdom and humor by identical twins Rabbis Yisroel Engel (Denver) and Shloime Engel (Montreal) who share their combined 100 years of experience.
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