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Shavuot is The Holiday of Cheesecake and Blintzes

May 26, 2022 | by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

There’s a reason you find yourself craving cheesecake the beginning of every summer.

Often referred to as the cheesecake holiday, Shavuot, is the holiday that celebrates the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. It falls about 7 weeks after Passover, specifically 50 days after the first day of Passover, it is sometimes known as "Pentecost," a Greek word meaning "the holiday of 50 days." (Shavuot, however, has no connection to the Christian Pentecost holiday.)

Shavuot is probably the least known Jewish holiday, maybe because this holiday has no obvious "symbols" of the day – i.e. no Shofar, no Sukkah, no Seder, no Chanukah Menorah. Instead over the years the symbol of Shavuot has become cheesecake and blintzes.

Why do we eat dairy on Shavuot?

There is a universal Jewish tradition of eating dairy foods on Shavuot. While it is a custom to eat meat on most Jewish holidays and Shabbat, on Shavuot we celebrate with dairy. Various reasons have been suggested to explain why this custom has become so prevalent, among them:

  1. The Biblical book Song of Songs (4:11) refers to the sweet nourishing value of Torah by saying: "It drips from your lips, like honey and milk under your tongue."
  2. The verse in Exodus 23:19 juxtaposes the holiday of Shavuot with the prohibition of mixing milk and meat. On Shavuot, some therefore eat separate meals – one of milk and one of meat.
  3. Upon receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, the Jews immediately became obligated in the kosher laws relating to slaughter of animals. Since they did not have time to prepare kosher meat, they ate dairy instead.
  4. The description of the land of Israel in the Torah, which was given Shavuot, is "a land that flows with milk and honey." So, dairy foods came not only to remind the Jewish people of the Torah given at Sinai, but also of their beloved homeland, the Land of Israel.

What cheesecake will you be making this year? Check out 7 sweet cheesecake recipes to satisfy your Shavuot craving.

No Bake Cheesecake with Chocolate and Halva

Dress up this easy no bake cheesecake with some favorite new flavors. Get the recipe.

Light Israeli Cheesecake

This cheesecake in the style popular in Israel is light and airy and a bit tangy. It is less sweet than most of the cheesecakes in North America and it’s a favorite among locals and tourists at Israeli breakfast buffets around the country. Get the recipe.

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

All you need is 5 ingredients for this lighter, airy, gluten-free cheesecake recipe. Get the recipe

Ricotta Cheesecake from Rome’s Jewish Quarter

Ricotta cheesecake from Rome’s Jewish Quarter is a classic Italian classic dessert. It has a touch of lemon, is slightly lighter and more pudding-like than traditional New York cheesecake, and is lovable in its own incredible way. Get the recipe.

Biscoff Cheesecake with Sumac Strawberries

This decadent cheesecake starts with a super crust made from crushed biscoff cookies. It is finished with a uniquely flavored strawberry topping, this one is for the foodies who want to try something new. Get the recipe.

Rainbow Cheesecake Babka

This Rainbow Cheesecake Babka has a soft enriched dough that is coloured with rainbow sprinkles and swirled with a sweetened cream cheese filling. Can you find a happier babka loaf? Get the recipe.

Heavenly Cheesecake


This heavenly cheesecake doesn’t call for a complicated preparation, boasting a mild flavor and gentle texture that is perfect even a day or two after coming out of the oven. Get the recipe.

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