Shavuos Guide – Dairy Foods on Shavuos: How and Why

Just like other yamim tovim, there is a mitzvah of simchah on Shavuos (Orach Chaim 529:3). In fact, the Gemara (Pesachim 68b) writes that although there is a dispute concerning other mo’adim as to whether they are “entirely for Hashem” or “half for you” (meaning also for our pleasure), on Shavuos all agree that the day is “also for you.”

The most basic way in which we have enjoyment and pleasure is by the special foods we prepare in honor of the day. The standard Yom Tov meals include meat and wine (see Biur Halachah 545, s.v. veim), which are considered joy-inducing. Yet on Shavuos, many prepare meals including dairy products, a custom that is cited by many halachic authorities.

This custom does not prevent a person from eating meat, and both dairy foods and a meat meal are generally consumed. Partaking of both meat and milk requires precautions to ensure that they don’t get mixed up.

In the present article we will discuss the issue of eating dairy foods on Shavuos, including both the question of why we do so, and the explanation of how the combination of dairy with meat can be achieved without running into halachic pitfalls.