by Rabbi Avrom Rothman
Since Erev Shavuot is Shabbat, there is a Halacha we need to keep in mind. One should not really have a meal before sunset on Erev Shavuot, however, normally; we would have Sholosh Seudot at that time. Therefore, it is the practice that one should eat Sholosh Seudot earlier in the day and then come to Shul for Mincha and Yom Tov Maariv.
In our Shul, we make Shabbat Mincha slightly later than usual, we do not offer Sholosh Seudot following Mincha. Then one either stays in Shul until Maariv or returns in time for Maariv.
Another important point about Shavuot, which does not apply as much this year, is that one does not start Shavuot at all early. The reason is that Shavuot starts at the conclusion of “seven complete weeks” of Sefirat HaOmer. In order to make sure that we have seven COMPLETE weeks, we wait to start Shavuot, which concludes those seven weeks, until the actual time of nightfall.
So, while usually we attempt to start early, whenever possible, on this holiday specifically we wait until total nightfall so that we start Shavuot after the conclusion of Sefirat HaOmer.
One more question that comes up repeatedly on Shavuot is what the proper bracha to recite on cheesecake is. The filling, which in this case is the overwhelming majority of the cake/pie, since it is cheese, would require a blessing of she’acol. The crust, however, acquires a bracha of mezonot.
In the case of cheese cake, one needs to know what the purpose of the crust is for the specific cheesecake they are eating. If the crust is only present to hold the cheese and is not there for its taste, then the crust becomes secondary to the cake and the blessing is she’acol. However, if the crust of your cheesecake is made to add to the taste of the cake and is not specifically only to hold or bind the cake together then the blessing would be mezonot.
Keep in mind, if the blessing is she’acol, then one does not fulfill the Mitzvah of kiddush by eating the cheesecake. If the bracha is actually mezonot then one would fulfill the mitzvah of making kiddush together with food by eating the cheesecake.
Looking forward to an inspired and worthwhile Shavuot