For the week ending 11 May 2013 / 1 Sivan 5773
Ruth and Shavuot
Why do we read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot? Thanks!
There are seven reasons I am aware of as being the source of this custom. Here they are and I wish you a meaningful and joyous Festival!
- The events occurred during the harvest season. Shavuot is the Harvest Festival.
- Ruth was a convert to Judaism. Conversion is an individual "Kabbalat HaTorah – Receiving the Torah."
- Ruth the Moabite was permitted to marry Boaz, based on a teaching of the Oral Law for the verse, "A Moabite may not marry into the Congregation of G-d" (Deut. 23:4). This hints at the unity between the Written Torah and the Oral Torah.
- David HaMelech was born on Shavuot. The Scroll of Ruth concludes with David's lineage.
- To teach the greatness of Gemillut Chassadim - acts of loving-kindness.
- To teach that the Torah is truly acquired only through “affliction and poverty” – dedication and commitment.
- The name "Ruth" has the numerical value of 606. At Mt. Sinai the Jewish People accepted 606 mitzvot in addition to the 7 Noachide Laws.