Shavuot, Eruv Tavshilin, Recipes and Carnivals

The holiday of Shavuot begins Thursday evening. Known in English as Pentecost because it takes place fifty days after Passover, Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. The two main customs associated with the holiday are serving dairy foods and staying up all night to study Torah. Staying up all night only became popular once coffee became readily available in Europe.

This year the one-day holiday of Shavuot leads right into Shabbat. Cooking is permitted, but only for the holiday itself.  This creates a problem with heating or cooking food for the Sabbath, when all cooking is forbidden. To get around this we put aside some cooked food on Thursday, before the holiday begins, make a blessing and designate it for one of the Shabbat meals. It’s as if we begin cooking officially for Shabbat before the holiday actually started. This food is known as an Eruv Tavshilin.

In Israel all yamim tovim—the holidays with this restriction—are observed for only one day with the exception of Rosh Hashanah. Outside of Israel every yom tov is two days long. Judging by the crowds, it seems that many Israelis panic at the thought of stores closing for two days in a row. A one-day observance also means that making an Eruv Tavshilin is rare.  Here the only holidays that can fall on Fridays are Shavuot, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and the last day of Passover, and that doesn’t happen even every year.

You can try my Sourdough Chocolate Cake or Seven-Minute Microwave Cheesecake. Israeli Kitchen has a luscious looking cheesecake and Shimshonit provides both dairy and pareve menus.

Have a chag sameach and Shabbat shalom.


  1. Outside of Israel every yom tov is two days long.

    Except for Yom Kippur! Which alone is reason enough for the Rabbanim to finally get together and rescind the second day of each of the Shalosh Regalim.

    And there are far better reasons for making aliyah! Dairy products, falafel, kosher supermarkets, Jewish education, tiyulim, shabbat and chagim, spirit, …, oh, and it happens to be a great mitzvah 🙂

  2. mominisrael says

    Yom Kippur might technically be a Yom Tov, but you are not allowed to cook; i.e. the prohibitions are the same as for Shabbat.
    And I’m not discounting your other reasons. The chagim are much better here, but a large part of that is that they are only one day each!

  3. Shimshonit says

    It feels funny doing eruv tavshilin in Israel; we did it much more in the States before aliyah. Thank you for an informative post, some good-looking recipes, and the link. Chag sameach and Shabbat shalom!

    • mominisrael says

      Shimshonit, you’re welcome. After I posted I was concerned that some of my readers might be intimidated by your elaborate menus–I was, a bit! Chag sameach and Shabbat shalom.

  4. The explanation for Eruv Tavshilim was simple and clear. I admit I didn’t really know the meaning of it by now.
    I would like to invite you to visit the Shavuot recipes section at this address:

    I wish you Chag Sameach!

  5. I agree… it is strange to do eruv tavshilin in israel. but never the less. very good post so much info.