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Dairy Meal On Shavuot?

Updated: May 15, 2023

The Daily Halacha Moment - Eating Dairy On Shavuot 🧀

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Where does the custom of eating Dairy on Shavuot come from?

Shouldn't one eat meat since that is Simchat Yom Tov?


It is customary to eat dairy products on Shavuot. According to some opinions, this custom is meant to commemorate mattan Torah, during which Bnei Yisrael were commanded the mitzvot of shechitah and kashrut (i.e. the laws regarding eating milk and meat together), and since none of their pots or pans were kosher, they were only permitted to eat dairy. [1] According to other opinions, the reason we eat dairy on Shavuot is to show that we keep the laws of basar bechalav and do not eat milk and meat together. The angels, though, did not keep these laws when they visited Avraham Avinu, and this is why Hashem did not give them the Torah. [2] Some people also have the custom to eat honey and milk together since the Torah is compared to honey and milk, as it says in Shir HaShirim, “Devash vechalav tachat leshonech — Honey and milk under your tongue.” [3]

However, one should make a point to eat Meat on Yom Tov since one has an obligation of Simchat Yom Tov. [4] Nonetheless, if one wants to fulfill the custom of eating dairy on Shavuot, one may even eat a small amount of ice cream or yogurt, and does not need to eat a full dairy meal. [5]

After eating dairy, one should not eat meat on the same table unless the table was cleaned off entirely. Preferably, a new tablecloth should be set. [6]

Similarly, one may not eat meat at the same table as one who is eating dairy unless there is a designated object separating the two to remind them not to eat from each other’s plates. This object can be anything that is noticeable and is not normally present. Alternatively, one may eat on a place mat, while the other person eats on the table. [7]

Adapted From R' Yonatan Nacsons "Laws Of The Holidays"


[1]. Rama 494:3; Mishnah Berurah 494:12. See also Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 318.

[2]. Midrash Shocher Tov, Tehillim, ch. 8. See also Magen Avraham §6 for another reason.

[3]. Shir HaShirim 4:11. See Kaf HaChaim §60.

[4]. The Rambam (Yom Tov 6:18) rules that the mitzvah of Simchat Yom Tov is fulfilled through the consumption of meat and wine. See also Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 319; Yechaveh Daat 6:33; and Shulchan Aruch, siman 529.

The Bach 529, however, explains that although there is no obligation to eat meat nowadays, there still is a mitzvah to do so, and one would fulfill the Mitzvah of Simcha thereby. The Magen Avraham 529:3, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 529:7, Mishnah Berurah 529:11, and Kaf HaChaim 529:28 agree.

[5]. Ohr LeTzion, vol. 3, 18:11, in the footnote. See also Halichot Shlomo, Shavuot, ch. 12, footnote 49, which states that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would eat a small dairy meal after Kiddush, wait thirty minutes, and then eat his regular Yom Tov meal. Regarding eating dairy on the second day of Shavuot, see Yom Tov Sheni KeHilchato 1:71, which states that some have the custom to eat dairy as well.

[6]. See Birkei Yosef, Shiyurei Berachah, Y.D 89:35, which states that since these days one does not eat off the table, but rather with a plate, one does not need a new tablecloth. See also Kaf HaChaim, Y.D. 89:67. However, Yalkut Yosef, Y. D. 89:67 states that one should at least make sure that the table is clean. In any case, it is certainly praiseworthy to change the tablecloth.

[7]. See Shulchan Aruch, Y.D., siman 88. See also Laws of The Holidays - Nacson

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