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Got Milk?

Thursday, 9 May, 2013 - 8:00 am


Dear Rabbi,

I look forward to seeing you Shavuot day, the 15th at 5:30 pm.

Growing up, we did not celebrate Shavuot and I never heard of this dairy obsession. Can you tell me its significance?




Dear Dee,

There is a story told that one year in ‘Tomchei Temimim’, the Yeshiva founded by the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe, there was a rift amongst the students. Some of the older students, not willing to harbor hard feelings, called a clandestine meeting in middle of the night, to iron out their differences. Sure enough, resolutions were adopted so that the spirit of camaraderie would return. Due to the late hour, and that classes would begin early the next day, most wanted to take a power nap. One of the students, Chaim Shaul Bruk, got up and asked: ‘Why do the Jewish people eat dairy products on Shavuos?’ The others replied that they will answer in the morning. Chaim Shaul made clear that there was more to his question. The others gave the traditional answer that the Jewish people had just accepted the Torah laws and did not yet know how to implement the laws of kosher and therefore abstained from eating meat. Until learning the complex laws of proper slaughter and of the meat preparation, they limited their diet to dairy foods.

Chaim Shaul responded that there was what to learn from this. The Jewish people did not have ‘the last supper’ and then began their kosher diet the next morning. They implemented their acceptance of the Torah immediately. He continued saying that these steps that they took upon themselves to ‘love our fellow as ourselves’ cannot wait until they would wake up from their nap but must be implemented promptly.

The significance of the dairy foods on Shavuos is to begin doing the Mitzvot that we take upon ourselves immediately and not wait ‘until the morrow’.

I know you are traveling but if you are in town shabbat day services begin 9:30 :)

Good Shabbos

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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