For most of Jewry, sad to say, Shavuos is a little known holiday. Yet this is the day we re-live the most momentous event in our history, when Hashem gave us His Torah, the framework through which we express true purpose of our lives.
Maybe one reason is because this is the one holiday that has no tangible symbols. No shofar, no sukkah, no matzoh, no menorah. What it does have is… cheese! Blintzes, lasagna, quiches and cheesecake.
Everyone gets all fired up about their dairy menus for Shavuos. But even creamy dreamy new and different recipes is no comparison to the deeply meaningful symbols of our other holidays. So what DO we focus on?
As Jews, we have to answer that question with another: Why do we serve dairy on Shavuos? The basic answer is that the Torah had just been given along with its various laws for keeping kosher. Our pots were not kosher and we did not have the tools to prepare kosher meat. We immediately embraced kosher observance by eating only dairy foods.
It is just this simple answer that reveals the majesty of who we were when we stood together at the foot of Mount Sinai~and the reason you are reading this today.
Not one of us said, “Great idea, that Torah. When we get the right dishes, we’ll keep kosher.” Instead, we burned with desire to fulfill as many of the mitzvos as we could, as soon as we could, even before we knew what they were! Naaseh v'nishma: “Whatever You say G-d, we’ll do. We are burning with desire for a relationship with You.“
This is the real symbol for Shavuot: Fire. The Torah says, “God spoke to you from the midst of the fire.” R. Simeon ben Lakish said: “The Torah given to Moses was written with black fire upon white fire, sealed with fire, and swathed with bands of fire.”
The Torah was given with fire. With fire we accept it today, and with fire we give it to the next generation. With our fiery excitement in learning, the vital warmth of our relationships and our flaming desire to serve our Creator in prayer and mitzvos, we continue to accept the Torah. The fuel source for our eternal existence is the fire that burned during Matan Torah, the gift of the Torah. And it is this holy fire, every Jew's pintele yid, that tiny flame that continues to burn in us today.
What does this have to do with your search for delicious Shauvos recipes? Everything!
The binah of Jewish women is to take the physical material of our lives: the laundry, the carpool, the cooking, and we transform our every effort into an act of our burning desire to connect with HaKodesh Boruch Hu. This brings enormous bracha into our homes, and meaning to the mundane in our lives.
So if it’s not too much of a stretch, The Kosher Channel’s Shavuos menu combines the rich simplicity of dairy cooking with fiery ingredients. The fire in the food I am serving up this yom tov comes from the spicy cuisine of Southwestern cooking (as well as the love in my heart).
From Queen in the Kitchen Quesadillas and Chipotle Salmon Cakes, to Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars, you'll give your family and guests satisfying dishes, recipes that fuel the flames of their passionate Torah learning this upcoming holiday.
This Shavuos, I hope you’ll be crowned with the majesty of the Torah life and fueled with the burning desire do, grow and understand your role in bringing Malchus to the world.