Shavuot: "Torah as Sweet as Honey"

by Rabbi Professor David Golinkin

Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin
Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin.

The holiday of Shavout, which we celebrate this week, did not receive much attention in rabbinic literature. There is no tractate about it in the Mishnah or Talmud and all of its laws are contained in one paragraph in the Shulhan Arukh (Orah Hayyim 494). Even so, a number of beautiful customs are associated with Shavout and here we shall discuss one of them.

Thirdly, there is an attempt to make learning enjoyable. A child who licks honey from a slate and who eats honey cake and a hard-boiled egg on the first day of class will immediately understand that the Torah is “as sweet as honey”. From this we learn that we must teach children in a gentle fashion and make learning enjoyable in order that they learn Torah with love.