What's behind the custom of eating dairy products on Shavuot? Is there a connection between the giving of the Torah at Mt Sinai and eating milk products? (I'm not complaining, I love cheesecake - I'm just looking for a deep spiritual excuse to eat more.)


Milk is actually refined blood. In a complex and wondrous process, the mammary glands transform blood into pure white milk.

There's something supernatural about that. To take a liquid as pungent and distasteful as blood, and convert it into a nourishing and drinkable food is nothing short of miraculous.

We can simulate this miracle in our own lives. Blood represents raw animalistic passion and untamed instinct. Milk is a symbol of refinement and purity of character. Making milk out of blood - refining our lower instincts - is our life goal .

The Torah introduced a radical new path to achieve this goal - the divine commands. Through engaging in simple acts of goodness and sanctity, we can tame our animalistic instincts and align ourselves with the divine. With each individual act we elevate ourselves and our world another step, gradually transforming a rough and untamed existence into a home for G‑d. We can turn our blood into milk.

I also love cheesecake. But this year as we eat it, let's remember the message behind it - that the Torah was given to transform our selfish appetites into an appetite for giving; to turn our blood, which is just for ourselves, into milk, the one thing the body produces just to give to another.