Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shavuot: Thou Shalt Have a Cow

Izzy's first encounter with this peculiar combo-holiday has left her full of good Jewish food...just like on most Israeli holidays. Friends tell me Shavuot commemorates when Moses came down from Mt Sinai with the stone tablets, and by extension celebrates the divine gift of the Torah, and (also) the picking of the first fruit. But surely that does not go all the back to the tasting menu of Eve and Adam, I reckon. Otherwise the day would be a celebration of humankind's fall from grace and the emergence of original sin. Not so auspicious.
To me, it's a timeless harvest fest, with crucial religious overtones. Somehow the day has evolved into a p.r. blitz for the Israeli dairy board as well, according to local reports, and some animal rights folks want this practice to end. Well, Israeli cheese tastes great spread on bread baked from newly harvested and ground wheat. Yum. Unfortunately, many Israelis are lactose intolerant, according to this recent post. Cheesy holidays like these are a challenge.
Apparently, the milk component of this agricultural celebration inspires seasonal squirt gun fights amongst rowdy school kids. Must be symbolic. Udderly symbolic. Just as well that the kids have this to occupy themselves, since Shavuot is like an extra sabbath. Most offices and shops are shuttered in western Jerusalem. This caught many of us off guard, and makes celebrating damn difficult.

1 comment:

Frum Femme said...

Not just the picking of the first fruit, but the offering of the first fruit and harvest at the Temple...that's how it all ties together for Shavuot.

(through the night is the custom on this Day.)alom. Read your Torah