Growing up we didn’t celebrate Shavuot, but we did eat blintzes. Which reminds me of a funny story, about both. Like most families in the 1960’s, we ate meat most every night. The once a week dairy meal that we did eat was generally blintzes, the frozen kind, potato, cheese and cherry. My mother would handily fry up 24 of them for our family of six. We quickly devoured the fat laden delicacies with heaps of additional fat, aka, sour cream. This weekly tradition ended suddenly when, one evening, after about 30 years of marriage, my father informed my mother that he didn’t like blintzes. Never had. He just never bothered to mention it before (something about not wanting to hurt her feelings). And that was the end of blintzes at the Fischer household.
I still make blintzes, but only once a year, at Shavuot. A Blintze Souffle, actually, that is yummy. Which gets me to thinking about blintzes and Shavuot. What’s the connection? Clearly, there is no biblical mention of blintzes anywhere in the Exodus story or the whole Torah, for that matter. Actually, the tradition is to eat dairy on Shavuot and, if you’re family was like my family, Blintzes was the obvious choice. So why dairy?
There are no definitive reasons why we eat dairy on Shavuot but here are some interesting thoughts.
#1 - Perhaps it is because we didn’t have the laws of kashrut until we received the Torah. Without those laws we didn’t know how to kasher our meat so we played it safe by not eating it. What's left? Dairy. Blintzes.
#2 - Shavuot celebrates our receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai and the Torah tells us that we were given “a land flowing with milk and honey”. Eating blintzes reaffirms the sweetness of the Torah.
#3 – And finally, one more cool reason. The Gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew word for milk, chalav, is 40. We eat dairy foods on Shavuot to commemorate the 40 days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai while receiving the Torah.