The “cheesecake holiday” came and went once again. It commemorates the giving of the Torah to the nation of Israel. A significant moment in mankind. For the fourth (?) year straight I spent the evening at the Manhattan JCC on the Upper West Side and had the privilege of attending talks given by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin and Jerome Chanes.
Shavout was the first holiday that I connected to. A night of learning combined with all I can eat cheesecake? Yes! A bright shiny indicator I was meant to be part of the J Tribe.
So why cheesecake?
Apparently there are quite a few reasons that Shavout is dairy centric. I have highlighted a few of them.
One theory is that at the time the Israelites were given the Torah they were also given specific instructions as to how to treat their meat (kosher time!)…as they did not have their meat up to the new gold seal standard they could only eat dairy ( I am going to take a huge guess that they did not have the recipe nor ingredients for cheesecake however…).
My new favorite theory is that the numerical value of the Hebrew word for milk (“chalav”) is 40…Yup symbolizing the 40 days Moses spent on Mt. Sinai etc. Clever.