Shavuot Observations

I attended the local Centrist congregation to learn in the Beit Midrash for tikkun leil Shavout. I had not been there for almost a decade because I was usually elsewhere or away. I was surprised that of those learning, 30-40% were women. I did not go into every classroom but it was at least 30%. There were co-ed hevrutot on the HS and college levels, there were wives joining their husbands hevrutas, next to me was a hevruta of two college age women preparing for an introduction to Talmud class, and even a grandmother learning breifly with her high school age grandsons. A friend who had agreed to learn with his college age son at 1:30, found that his son with learning with a group of  girls – dad did not want to discourage it. Many Baby-Boomers guys were quietly reading to themselves the CJF Shavuot-to Go as their tikkun.It seems that is their target audience.

Shavuot Cuisine is going in several directions. For many it is becoming a BBQ-grilled meat as holiday BBQ complete with hot dogs, Frisbee, and six packs.  For others, the custom of having dairy meals has turned vegetarian. The original custom of eating milk and honey as sweet blitzes or cheese cake has become defined as a non-meat/dairy meal as opposed to a meat one. So, for a no-meat meal one can serve entirely parve, entirely vegan. It’s Shavuot, so lets have vegan for the hag. If not, vegan then the dairy will be non-sweet such as lasagna.


4 responses to “Shavuot Observations

  1. How far back does the “milk and honey” minhag go? And is that the origin? By our time all the origin stories for the minhag had to do with not being able to find a competent shochet in the days before Moshe returned down the mountain with the text of Masechet Hullin.

    I wonder whether Orthodox pan-halachicism moved the minhag from the non halachic category of milk and honey to the halachic category of an exception of the regular moed halacha of fleishigs.

    This halachic flexibility of a summer barbecue is in contrast to cheese cake being the sole menu item at the non-ortho tikkun I attended, and the question about cheese cake from my food-centric, non-frum colleague.

  2. Yehudah Mirsky

    For sources on the dairy, minhag Prof. Sperber, in Minhagei Yisrael vol. 3, p. 139, n. 69 refers to an article in Ohalei Shem, vol. 6 (Kfar Habad, 5751) which you can read online here

  3. re: BBQ, is that a trend you have noticed over several years? This year was also memorial day, which is where I thought some of the BBQ came from.

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