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I know everybody does it, and I know there is an inyan to eat dairy, but is there an inyan specifically for eating cheesecake on Shavuos? And if so, where does it come from?

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    The general question is found here judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7875/759
    – Double AA
    May 13, 2013 at 23:18
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    You answered your own question: there is an inyan to eat cheesecake because everyone does it and they don't know why. That's what an inyan is!
    – Double AA
    May 13, 2013 at 23:19
  • Ha, although I am not satisfied with that really :)
    – WhoKnows
    May 13, 2013 at 23:19
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    Maybe cheesecake became popular on Shavuot because people wanted to make a Mezonot after they made Kiddush, so they could have Kiddush Bimkom Seuda. judaism.stackexchange.com/a/16556/603
    – Menachem
    May 14, 2013 at 3:38
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    Point of order: Not everybody does it.
    – Seth J
    May 14, 2013 at 17:45

5 Answers 5

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Nitei Gavriel Shavuos 29:1 note 1 mentions from Kovetz Bais Talmud that in the times of the second Bais HaMikdash they used to eat on Shavuos (לפתות מלחם ומלח (חלב. This sounds a bit like cheesecake to me.

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  • How does he know this? What's the source?
    – Yehoshua
    Jun 8, 2016 at 18:23
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    Rabbi Tzinner made a mistake. He cites Beit Talmud 1882, but it's actually Beit Talmud 1881, p. 87 where there's a reference to a testimony by Philo who stated that the Essenes would not eat meat or drink wine during Shavuot but would instead eat bread and salt (link). Rabbi Tzinner amends the salt to milk, but I don't know what he based the emendation on.
    – Harel13
    May 22, 2023 at 13:32
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No. Cheesecake is just delicious.

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    What is your source or reasoning for the claim that there's no source for eating cheesecake specifically?
    – msh210
    May 14, 2013 at 4:37
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    I'm going to take the admittedly unpopular but unfortunately true position that cheesecake is not delicious.
    – Double AA
    May 14, 2013 at 4:46
  • My source of reasoning is that while eating dairy is a popular inyan, cheesecake is just a popular choice (especially in America). I personally know many Jews (mostly foreigners) who have never had cheesecake but keep that inyan to eat cheesecake. I'd consider it more of an inyan just to eat cheesecake itself than to eat cheesecake on Shauvos.
    – rosen
    May 14, 2013 at 14:31
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    What is your source that cheesecake is delicious?
    – Seth J
    May 23, 2013 at 19:29
  • @DoubleAA, you've never had my father's cheesecake May 22, 2023 at 15:53
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Rabbi Zev Cohen of Chicago writes in Safa Berurah Shavuos (p. 28)

After staying up all night, we have two fundamental lessons to remember. one is to realize that we have achieved great closeness to Hashem, and the other is to remember that through receiving the Torah we now have the tools to meet all the challenges of the yetzer hara. To accomplish both of these goals at once, we eat a food item that is both milchigs and chametz. We eat chametz to symbolize that after a whole night of learning Torah we are now empowered to fight the yetzer hara represented by that chametz, and we also eat milchigs in it to symbolize the concept of the shiva nekiim and dam neechar v’naaseh chalav that brought us so close to Hashem, like the closness of a of a chassan and kallah. Cheesecake (or even better, a cheese danish) is the perfect food to accomplish both messages.

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  • This could also be done with a cheese sandwich or pizza
    – Dude
    May 22, 2023 at 22:00
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B"H

I heard in a shiur that in fact the entire source for eating dairy in general on Shavuos is just because there's an inyan to eat specifically cheesecake on Shavuos.

The shiur quoted a Ramah (don't rememeber source, around laws of Shavuos in Orach Chayim) that on every Yom Tov, we usually make a Zeicher for something

(Sukkos, Pesach - Matzah etc.)

but what's the Zeicher for Shavuos?

The answer is that we should make a Zeicher for the 2 breads that were offered on the alter for Shavuos.

On yom Tov usually one only eats one meal of bread by day (unlike Shaboos), but the Ramah says there that in order to make a proper Zeicher for the 2 breads, one should eat 2 "bread" meals on Shavuos.

Since in general one eats two meals per day, one dairy and one meat, therefore, he writes, that the first meal should be bread "mixed with cheese" (AKA, cheesecake), and then one should wait a while and have the second meal with meat.

So, according to the shiur, based on that the proper thing to do is to make kiddush (after shacharis/mussaf), then have cheese cake as the meal. Then wait an hour and start the meat meal.

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    The Rema is here: sefaria.org.il/Shulchan_Arukh%2C_Orach_Chayim.494.3?lang=bi He doesn't say anything about eating "bread mixed with cheese", just that one eats dairy food followed by meat, which necessitates using two separate loaves of bread.
    – Joel K
    May 22, 2023 at 5:58
  • The Magen Avraham there mentions that the custom is to bake the first loaf of bread with butter (still doesn't sound like cheesecake to me). Also note that this is all happening within the same meal, no need to bench between the dairy and meat and no need to wait an hour.
    – Joel K
    May 22, 2023 at 6:09
  • @JoelK one must always say an after bracha when when finishing meat/dairy to then eat the opposite and one must do this regardless of the time one waits in between whether the bracha is at the beginning of the time to wait or at the end. I don't have the siman right now but this is clear in yore dea. As for the hour time. Waiting a full hour is based on the Zohar. Not everyone does this or agrees that's the p'shat there
    – Dude
    May 22, 2023 at 12:37
  • @Dude Just look at OC 494:3 (link above) with Mishnah Berurah. No need for bracha acharona if going from milk to meat (unless one eats hard cheese)
    – Joel K
    May 22, 2023 at 12:57
  • @JoelK that doesn't say what you are claiming it says. It is only addressing eating a dairy meal and a meat meal and does not say anything in regards to whether one needs to wait or say a bracha in between. For that you need yore dea not orech chaim
    – Dude
    May 22, 2023 at 13:00
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My understanding was that originally eating cheesecake on Shavuos was a regional custom in Central Europe (IE Germany and Hungary) and Eastern European Jews tended to view blintzes as the de facto Shavuos food. Cheesecake just became more popular in the U.S.

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  • true; in Iraq the shavuoth-tradition was to eat 'kahi', a type of fried puff pastry, which was filled or topped with 'qeymar', a clotted cream made from buffalo milk.
    – RonP
    May 23, 2023 at 11:54

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