Friday, May 25, 2012

Dairy on Shavuot?

When I was first becoming religious and then for next thirty years or so, I understood the Shavuot holiday to be the "dairy" one, no compromising on it.  The main course was cheesecake and whatever fish and cheeses served in the earlier part of the meal would only be playing second fiddle to the cheesecake.  Then our daughter married a Tunisian Jew, and we discovered that dairy wasn't on the menu for Shavuot.

In recent years, I've read more and more articles and had more and more discussions with people about meat being required for Shavuot to make it festive.  That seemed strange to me, because I had spent twenty-five years as a vegetarian and had no problems celebrating at non-meat meals.  I really celebrated on Shavuot, because it was the only Jewish Holiday during which I enjoyed the meals and ended up feeling satisfied.  Another thing is that more and more people I know serve fish/dairy on Shabbat.  Fish is more expensive than chicken in Israel, so shouldn't that make it a festive menu?

This year Shavuot starts Saturday night, immediately after Shabbat and all its food.  I'll be serving a geffilte fish meal.  And then Shavuot morning we'll add cheeses to the gefilte fish menu.  No cheesecake, since my husband and I are on a maintenance diet after losing weight in recent years.

And what do you eat for the Holiday?


Pesky Settler said...

Not only are we doing an enirely dairy Shavuot, we're going dairy for Shabbat as well... just easier with a small kitchen.

IMO people take this 'MUST eat meat on Shabbat' a but too far... the line says "meat and fish and all tasty things"... so we're having an 'all tasty things' meal.

Sandra said...

In the mini heat wave in the UK, I am going for fish and dairy. We always have chicken for Shabbat! So it will make a nice change. I agree that fish is special, as it is now so expensive. Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

sheldan said...

Is it a real requirement, or just a custom? I understant the rationale behind dairy meals on Shavuot, but I'd appreciate someone enlightening me about why it is "mandatory" and not a good custom.

Batya said...

Pesky, my husband doesn't like dairy/fish on Shabbat, but we don't have double protein, just one type of fleishig. fish is more expensive than chicken here, so it should be considered shabbasdik. yes, Sandra, makes sense.

sheldan, eidot mizrach don't eat dairy at all, at least until recently when they started adopting askenaz customs.