Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Shavuot -- the aftermath

Over the Chag I came across a lighthearted piece on Shavuot written by my father-in-law Chaim Bermant, A"H, for the Jewish Chronicle in 1994. It began:
Shavuot is, without doubt, my favourite festival.
It is short, undemanding, with attractive customs and happy associations. I suppose, too, the fact that it usually coincides with the beginning of summer adds to its many pleasures.
Judaism not only impacts unpon the soul, it can be -- and should be -- tasted on the tongue. And no other festive fare, not Channucah latkes, hamentashehn on Purim, honey or honey-cake on Rosh Hashanah, galuptzi (or holishkes) on Succot, or matzah balls on Pesach can compare to cheesecake, blintzes and borscht on Shavuot. Different sages have suggested different reasons for their origins, but have overlooked the most obvious one. This is, of course, the fact that milk curdles quickly in summer.
There have been moments in my life when I have had the deepest reservations about Judaism, but I have always come round to the view that a faith which actually requires the faithful to eat cheesecake and blintzes must have something to commend it.
-- Hear, hear!

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