Wait, there’s a “cheesecake holiday”?

Did you know that people (jokingly) call the holiday of Shavuot “the cheesecake holiday”?

Shavuot comes in the spring, this year from sundown May 30 to sundown June 1. It has both agricultural significance as the first fruit harvest and historical significance celebrating receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, after 40 years wandering the desert after fleeing slavery in Egypt (see: Passover story).

Yeah, all that’s great, but let’s get back to the cheesecake.

It’s custom to eat dairy during this holiday! Why? There are a few possible explanations.

One is that we are supposed to be reminded of the promise of the land of Israel flowing with milk and honey. Another is that when the Torah was handed down, including laws of kashrut forbidding eating milk and meat together, the Israelites had dairy meals while they learned to butcher and cook meat in a kosher way. There are also kabbalistic and agricultural explanations, as well as several other possible reasons – you can read them all here.

Some Shavuot customs include not working, going to synagogue to hear the Ten Commandments, staying up all night studying Torah, and reading the Book of Ruth.

And of course, let’s not forget the eating of cheesecake. Or cheese blintzes. Or burekas…

Still curious? Learn more here!