For the week ending 15 May 2021 / 4 Sivan 5781

Reading Megillat Ruth on Shavuot

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Here are seven reasons why we read the Megillah of Ruth on Shavuot:

  1. The events occurred during the harvest season. Shavuot is the harvest festival.
  2. Ruth was a convert to Judaism. Conversion is an individual Kabbalat HaTorah — receiving and accepting the Torah.
  3. Ruth the Moabite was permitted to marry Boaz, based on a drasha (a teaching in the Oral Law) of the verse, "A Moabite may not marry into the Congregation of Hashem" (Devarim 23:4). This hints at the unity between the Written Torah and the Oral Torah.
  4. King David was born on Shavuot. The Megillah of Ruth concludes with David's lineage.
  5. To teach the greatness of gemillut chassadim — acts of loving-kindness.
  6. To teach that the Torah is acquired only through affliction and poverty.
  7. The name "Ruth" has the numerical value of 606. At Mount Sinai the Jewish People accepted 606 mitzvahs in addition to the 7 Noachide Laws which were incumbent upon them already (606 plus 7 equals the 613 mitzvahs).

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