June 09, 2008
(Israeli) boy and his (friend's) dog on Shavuot
To celebrate the revelation at Sinai and the giving of the Torah, my lovely friend Eilat invited several friends, including lucky me, to her home in Tel Aviv last night.
We dined on elegant dairy-infused culinary creations (none mine — the sole health-conscious, low-salt-and-fat, taste-free contribution).
In following the customary exception to the talmudic rule, that "holiday joy requires meat and wine," the table was a riot of cheese blintzes, yogurt with honey, cheesecake, lasagna — even a box of honey-laced, milky-white Toblerone chocolates!
Why eat dairy products on Shavuot?
Delicious reasons and sacred texts inform. Among them, Song of Songs (4:11) hints that the Torah nourishes "... like honey and milk under your tongue."
Children as guarantors
Before God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, the tradition teaches that God required agents who would assure the Torah’s continuity and transmission over the ages.
So the people suggested the patriarchs and the prophets, among others; to no avail. Only when they offered children as the guarantors, did the Jewish people receive the Torah.
Every Shavuot, I feel especially nourished by children's sweet optimism and earnest dedication — ideal qualities to guarantee the Torah's eternal life.
While native Israeli Or's attentions to his host's dog (shown in the photos) touched me deeply, I began to imagine him pleading (unsuccessfully) with his Moroccan-born mother and Russian-born father for such a pet. I projected, "Seems you want your own dog, yes?"
Relieved by Or's quick, "I have one!" I reflected on the blessings that beloved pets bring. Among them, loving (at least treating respectfully) others' pets, ultimately protecting all creation.
Shavout: celebrating revelation at Sinai and giving the Torah.
Children: guarantying the Torah — "tree of life" (Proverbs 3:18).
Chag sameach. Happy holiday.