Q. Why are dairy foods customary on Shavu’ot?
A. There are some ingenious mathematical explanations, e.g. the numerical value of chalav – milk – is 40, reminding us that when the Torah was given Moses ascended Mount Sinai and spent 40 days and nights in communion with the Almighty.
Other interpretations include:
1. Torah is likened to milk – one is the basic nourishment for the soul, the other for the body.
2. In the northern hemisphere Shavu’ot is in the summer when lighter foods are preferable.
3. It is a hint of God’s original plan, to be fulfilled in messianic times, for a world without violence, including killing animals for food.