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Many communities have a custom to consume sheep for the Shabbat of Parshat Yitro. Why is this done?


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closed as off-topic by Double AA Mar 8 '15 at 16:35

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This is related etymologically by R' Hirsch: The giving of the Torah is referred to as מטן תורה, mutton torah. As such, it is proper to consume mutton on the Shabbat of Parshat Yitro. It is also permitted to do so on Shavuot, however it is customary instead to eat sheep's cheese, as we do not eat meat then. Bedieved, when no mutton is available, one may consume lamb, as it would be mutton the next year.

  • groan worthy. +1 – Seth J Feb 19 '15 at 14:38
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When the Jews left Egypt, a land where sheep were worshiped as deities, they needed seven weeks to leave behind the vestiges of sheep-worhip and prepare themselves to receive the Torah and become God's nation as described in parashas Yisro. Therefore, when God appeared to them and presented them with the Decalogue, He included a reference to how far they had come, how much they had grown. He said (20:2–5,in loose translation):

אָנֹכִי ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים. לֹא יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים עַל פָּנָי. לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה לְךָ פֶסֶל וְכָל תְּמוּנָה אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל וַאֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת וַאֲשֶׁר בַּמַּיִם מִתַּחַת לָאָרֶץ. לֹא תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לָהֶם וְלֹא תָעָבְדֵם

I am God, your god, who has taken you out of Egypt, the place of worshipers. You're not going to have any other gods along with me. You're not going to make a graven image of — baa — heavens or of — baa — earth or of — baa — water. You won't bow to them or worship them.

To commemorate this event, we have a custom to eat sheep the week of parashas Yisro.

  • "[T]he place of worshipers?" – Seth J Feb 19 '15 at 17:21
  • @SethJ "bes avadim". As in oved avoda zara – msh210 Feb 19 '15 at 17:28
  • Is that part of the joke? – Seth J Feb 19 '15 at 18:52
  • @SethJ, well, what relevance would "place of slaves" be? Surely God wouldn't include that in there while He's talking about sheep-worship. He must've meant "place of worshipers". – msh210 Feb 19 '15 at 20:53
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This is because Yisro sheepishly admitted that the Jewish religion is the truth. As a Zecher to that we eat sheep.

  • He did so sheepishly? I don't get that sense from the pesukim. – Double AA Feb 19 '15 at 14:49
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    @DoubleAA: I do not recall such a Mitzva either. – Gershon Gold Feb 19 '15 at 15:09
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    Downvoter: This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy. Unless you didn't like the joke. In which case, I hear you. – Gershon Gold Feb 19 '15 at 15:12

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