Cheesecake on Shavuot


Dear Rabbi,

Why is there a custom to eat cheesecake on Shavuot?

Thank you!



  1. The widespread custom is to eat dairy products in general on Shavuot, and it seems that many choose to eat cheesecake on this holiday, as well as ice cream and cheese blintzes and the like.

    Many reasons have been offered for this delicious dairy custom and here are three of them. All three reasons, however, share a common theme — that dairy products are connected to some aspect of the giving of the Torah on this day. Therefore, eating dairy on this day is a symbolic manner of the re-enactment of the “Sinai experience.”

    1. Having just received at Mount Sinai the laws of keeping kosher, the Jewish nation had no choice but to limit themselves to dairy or plant-based foods. They could not eat meat right after receiving the Torah since that would require kosher slaughtering, salting and other preparations necessary before the meat could be eaten.
    So, the main foods available then were dairy, such as delicious cheesecake!

    2. Torah is compared to milk in the verse, “Like honey and milk it (the Torah) is under your tongue.” (Song of Songs 4:11) Just as milk has the physical nutrition needed to sustain the physical body of a human being, so too the Torah provides all spiritual nourishment required by the human soul.

    3. The Hebrew word for milk is “chalav,” which has the numerical value (gematria) of 40. We eat dairy foods on Shavuot to commemorate the 40 days that Moshe stayed on Mount Sinai to to be taught the entire Torah by God.

    I hope you find these reasons as tasty as the cheesecake — or whatever else — that you enjoy on Shavuot!

    Best wishes from the Team