Volume 34 Number 54
                 Produced: Sun May 20  7:50:27 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Dairy meals on Shabou'ot.
         [Joseph Mosseri]
Dairy on Shavuot (2)
         [David Glasner, William J Scherman]
Drawings in the Kitsur Shulchan Aruch
         [David Feiler]
Milchigs on Shavuos.
         [Barry Best]
Shabbat in Beit Shemesh
Request: Carlebach Chazan available


From: Joseph Mosseri <JMosseri@...>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 02:52:34 -0400
Subject: Dairy meals on Shabou'ot.

Why do people eat dairy meals on this holiday?

According to HaRambam, the meals of YomTob must be joyous ones and as he
says prescribed by the Torah and therefore all holiday meals must
consist of meat and wine.

How can people belittle this important holiday by intentionally doing
away with meat?????????

The only time we intentionally forego meat is prior to Tisha'ah Be'Ab as
a sign of mourning for the loss of the Bet HaMiqdash.

What is the origin of this custom?

For many years I've searched into the source of this custom.  I found
plenty of reasons explaining why dairy is eaten by some or how it is
connected to Matan Torah.  But all these seem to be after the fact,
basically trying to "kosher" this custom.

The earliest source we have for this custom is the Kol Bo.  {Kol Bo,
anonymous work on Jewish Law, probably by Rabbi Aharon ben Ya'aqob
HaKohen of Lunel (1262-1325) first printed in Naples, 1490} There it
states: "There is an established custom to eat honey and milk on the
festival of Shabou'ot since the Torah is compared to honey and milk as
it is written Honey and Milk beneath your tongue" We next find this
custom mentioned by the Rama (1525-1572) in his hagahot to Shoulhan
'Aroukh at the very end of siman 494.  He states: " And there is the
custom in some places to eat dairy foods on the 1st day of Shabou'ot and
it seems to that the reason is........."

After that all we find are different reasons throughout the last few
centuries by the commentators.

All the Sefardic sources I have searched make no reference to this being
the custom in their lands or communities.

To eat a complete dairy meal seems to be completely unknown and unheard

Rabbi Shem Tob Gaguine in his Keter Shem Tob only mentions that there is
a custom to eat some cheese within the breakfast meal the morning of
Shabou'ot. Basically after you get home (from being all night) have a
dairy breakfast.

After consulting with Sephardic Jews from many communities and countries
it seems that this custom of eating dairy was virtually unknown until
reaching North America, Europe, & Australia and intermingling with the

The only group which seems to have a definite dairy custom is that of
Aleppo, Syria.  According to elderly informants referring to the customs
of their parents (over a century ago) "the custom in Halab was to eat a
light dairy meal on the first night of Shabou'ot, to facilitate staying
up all night and reading"

Every other group said that some of the pastries we eat towards the end
of the all night reading are dairy and sweet, so that's more than enough
to fulfill the custom by those who mention it.

I was never satisfied with just this information and finally I found some
startling history.

The following is from the very well documented book by John Cooper
entitled Eat and be Satisfied: A Social History of Jewish Food page 119:

"According to the testimony of Kalonymos ben Kalonymos, the Jews of
Provence at the beginning of the 14th century used to eat a specially
prepared honey cake in the shape of a ladder on Shavuot. Later in
Germany the cake was made with 7 rungs, symbolizing the 7 spheres rent
by the Almighty when He descended to give the Law. So, too, the earlier
13th century Provencel philosopher Jacob ben Abba Mari Antoli asserted
that it was customary for Jews to partake of milk and honey on Shavuot,
as these foods were compared with the sustenance derived from the
Torah. Among the Christian community, during Lent honey cakes shaped
like ladders were consumed, and no doubt the Shavuot cake was modeled on
a Christian example, even if the Jews' neighbors ate their cake a month
or 2 earlier"

If that wasn't enough....he continues and says:

"In central and eastern Europe dairy foods replaced the honey cake of
Provence on Shavuot, partly because there was an abundance of milk at
this time of the year and partly because dairy dishes were the standard
festive food at Whitsun in several parts of Germany, and the Scots
celebrated the festival of Beltane on May 1, when many dairy dishes were

He then goes on to describe certain pies and cakes and how they were

For those of you who don't know :

Whitsun is white Sunday, the custom of wearing white robes by the newly
baptized who were numerous at this season.

Beltane is the first day of May in the old Scottish calendar and the
Celtic May Day festival.

This was very startling indeed and I'm glad that I do not have a custom
to eat a dairy meal on Shabouot.

At this point I want to thank Bore Olam for directing me to this piece
of Gemara.  Not only does it not mention dairy but it specifically
refers to meat.  Pesahim 68b: Rab Yosef would order on the day of
Shabou'ot "Prepare me a third-born calf" That is he ordered the calf
that was born third to its mother which was considered the best.

Please, I'm looking for more information so please do not hesitate to
write back.  Tell me what else you can find on the origins of this
custom or what you know about specific communities.

Thank you,
Joseph Mosseri


From: David Glasner <DGLASNER@...>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 17:06:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Dairy on Shavuot

Zev Sero wrote (34:50)
<<<The problem was not that they didn't know the laws before Matan Torah,
or that they didn't have the right knives, etc.  After all, on the one
hand there is no indication that the laws of kashrut were revealed at
the same time as the 10 dibrot, and on the other hand we know that they
were studying Torah even in Mitzrayim, and certainly in the desert
before Matan Torah.  Further, if the problem was lack of knowledge, then
they would not have had separate milchig and fleishig utensils, and
their milchigs would be just as treif as their fleishigs.

The problem was that, as Kochav points out, before Matan Torah they were
not Jewish.  And a goy's shechita is not kosher, no matter how
knowledgeable and skilled he is; it's a fundamental requirement of
kashrut that the shochet be a Jew.  So when the Torah was given and our
ancestors became the first Jews on the planet, there was no kosher meat
to be had.  And it was Shabbat, so they couldn't shecht any.  So,
knowing before Shabbat that this would happen, they prepared milchigs
(that is, those who wanted to prepare something in honour of shabbat, to
supplement their man, which was, of course, parev...) >>>

This is all quite speculative and strikes me as not very plausible.

First, it is not at all clear that there was an obligation to perform
shehitah on hulin even after matan torah.  The commandment to perform
shehiah on hulin was not given until the Israelites were at Arvot Moav
and is recorded only in poroshat re'eih, D'varim 12:19-21.  The status
of shehitah until then is the subject of a dispute in Hulin 16b between
R. Akiva and R. Yishmael.  R. Yishmael holds that shehitah was in force
during that time, but that there was some sort of prohibition on eating
meat that was not brought as a sacrifice (and possibly also on
performing shehitah outside the mishkan see vakikra 17:3-7).  This is
how Rashi (and every other commentator) explains the commandment to
perfrom shehitah on hulin in D'varim (i.e., according to R. Yishmael,
that the commandment came to allow consumption of ordinary meat, b'sar
ta'avah).  The problem with this is that the halakhah always accords
with the opinion of R. Akiva against R. Yishmael and the Rambam
explicitly codifies the halakhah according to the opinion of R.  Akiva
in Hil. Shehitah 4:17.  According to R. Akiva, the Israelites could eat
b'sar ta'avah while they were in the desert without performing shehitah,
but they were required to perform nehirah (stabbing) which would also
cause the death of the animal by the loss of dam hanefesh.  The
requirement of nehirah preexisted matan torah and was a preconditoin for
any ben noah to avoid the prohibition of eiver min hahai.  The
commandment to perform shehitah in D'varim was given not to permit the
consumptino of b'sar ta'avah but to prohibit nehirah once the Israelites
came into Eretz Yisrael.

According to R. Akiva, therefore, there is no reason why meat that had
been slaughtered via nehirah prior to matan torah would have been
prohibited after matan torah.  Indeed, even according to R.  Yishmael it
is not so clear that meat slaughtered via shehitah by a non-Jew would
not have been permissible right after matan torah, because the
prohibition against eating meat slaughtered by a gentile may well be
only rabbinic, based on a fear that meat slaughtered by a gentile would
have been slaughtered with some idolotrous intent.  Presumably that fear
would not have been relevant at the time of matan torah (although the
midrash does say that as soon as the Israelites said "na'asseh v'nishma"
an idolotrous spirit entered into them).  Moreover, it is not at all
clear when, according to R.  Yishmael, the prohibition against eating
b'sar ta'avah went into effect.  It would seem that it went into effect
only after the mishkan was built.  But if it went into effect
immediately after matan torah, the whole issue of eating meat on the day
of matan torah would have been moot.  On the other hand, one might say
that with the giving of the torah they were temporarily prohibited from
eating meat because of the prohibition on b'sar ta'avah and the lack of
a mishkan, and our custom commemorates that temporary situation, but
that also seems like a stretch to me, and again is k'neged the halakhah
p'sukah which follows the opinion of R. Akiva, not that of R. Yishmael.
At any rate, I am not aware of any specific discussion of when the
prohibition of eating b'sar ta'avah, according to R. Yishmael, came into

David Glasner

From: William J Scherman <zscherman@...>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 23:23:03 -0400
Subject: Re: Dairy on Shavuot

> The Darchei Tshuva on Hilochos Basar BeChalav discusses the
> appropriate method of fulfilling the custom of eating dairy as well as
> the obligation to eat meat.  Basically he concludes that one must eat
> meat both at night and during the day. So the dairy products should be
> eaten before the daytime meal as part of kiddush, then after an hour
> delay and washing out the mouth, the meaty daytime meal is eaten.
> Dov Teichman

I'm very interested in the "hour delay" between dairy and meat.  It is my
family's custom -- but I've never seen it in writing before.  Does the
Darchei Tshuva actually say an "hour"? -- or just some time?  I was once
told the ShLa"H mentions this minhag, but I couldn't find it inside.     


From: David Feiler <dfeiler@...>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 23:00:20 -0700
Subject: Drawings in the Kitsur Shulchan Aruch

As a footnote to David Olivestone's comments about the drawings in R
David Feldman's Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Vol 34 #52) several of those
Tallit and Tefillin drawings are also reproduced in the appendix to
Sefer Ta'amei Haminhagim.  In the edition that I own (pre 1971 but
cannot be more specific) the young man demonstrating the wrapping of a
Tallit is still clean shaven but he does have a nose!  More
interestingly, Ta'amei Haminhagim also has a section on the minhag of
the Ba'al Hatanya and in those pictures the subject is fully bearded and
wears clothes in a characteristic Chabad style.

If the drawings are original to R David Feldman (the title page of the
Sha'ar Hatziunim section implies that they are his work from his period
in Leipzig) then it seems a little surprising that the Ta'amei
Haminhagim author, R Avraham Sperling, or Eshkol publishers use those
drawings without crediting the source.

David Feiler
Syracuse, NY


From: Barry Best <barry.h.best@...>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 12:15:11 -0400
Subject: RE: Milchigs on Shavuos.

I don't have my seforim with me, but I am 99% certain that either the
rema or one of the nosai kelim on the s"a says that the minhag is
actually to have a milchig meal, finish it and then have meat.  The
reason is to necessitate having two (sets of) challahs, to remind us of
the sh'tay ha-lechem.  I don't know of anybody whose practice it is to
actually do this in "real life" though


From: smiles <fsmiles@...>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 05:04:23 -0700
Subject: Shabbat in Beit Shemesh

Does anyone have ideas on the various opinions involved on Shabbat
protests as detailed below?  The paper mentions that Rabbi Yosef Shalom
Elyashiv signed on for the protest. What posek says otherwise? And does
anyone try to get together to present a united orthodox front ?

 From jer. post

To protest the opening of the local McDonald's on Shabbat, Beit Shemesh
haredi rabbis plan to close their synagogues this Shabbat at 11 and bring
their congregations to pray in the restaurant's parking lot.
The protest this Saturday has not gained vocal support from members of the
non-haredi Beit Shemesh community despite the opposition that some
non-haredi residents expressed earlier this year.
Beit Shemesh residents organized a committee over the Internet to protest
the building of the McDonald's in February, but they are no longer active.
The issue has "fallen off the map" for the Beit Shemesh Internet site
(www.shemesh.co.il), said Beit Shemesh resident Steven Ehrenhalt, who has
not heard about the protest from any of his three modern Orthodox synagogues
in Beit Shemesh.


From: <Cheroneg@...>
Subject: Request: Carlebach Chazan available

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Good Shabbos.
Oneg Shames


End of Volume 34 Issue 54