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    A nation of Ruths – Shavu’ot

    Naomi & Ruth, by Gustave Dore

    The Megillah assigned for Shavu’ot is Ruth. It is one of the short, self-contained Books of the Bible, a novelette in itself like Jonah. Its relevance to Shavu’ot is both agricultural and spiritual.

    Agriculturally it reflects the time of the barley harvest; spiritually it portrays the acceptance of the Torah.

    Look at the festival Torah reading, which comes from Sh’mot chapters 19 and 20, and you see that the story we are told there describes the national experience of the Revelation at Mount Sinai.

    Now look at Ruth, and you see that instead of the experience of the people as a whole the Book is describing the individual acceptance of the Torah by a sensitive person named Ruth who chooses the Jewish way because she wants the Jewish God to be her God and the Jewish way of life (and death) to be hers.

    The Jewish people – probably two million-strong – are like a nation of Ruths who say, “Your God will be my God, your people will be my people”.

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