• Ketuvim

Ruth Chapters

Introduction to Ruth

To most Jews, Megillat Rut immediately conjures up thoughts and memories of the holiday of Shavuot, when it is read publicly in synagogue.

Shavuot is one of the three central pilgrimage festivals and, according to Jewish tradition, is the day when the children of Israel experienced revelation, receiving the Torah from God at Mount Sinai. It seems puzzling that, of all the books in the holy Bible, we specifically read Megillat Rut on the day that commemorates the giving of the Torah.

The giving of the Torah was the single most important moment in the history of civilization – not only for Jews, but for all of mankind. Long ago, the Sages wondered why, if the Torah is so holy, it wasn’t given in the Holy Land? Why was the Torah given in a barren desert instead?

The ancient rabbis explained that since Israel is the Jewish homeland, had the Torah been given in there, it would have belonged exclusively to the Jewish people. Instead, therefore, Hashem chose to transmit His moral code on a barren mountain in the ownerless wilderness, to emphasize that His Word is for everyone equally, because His instructions are the key to universal redemption.

In Megillat Rut we read about the Moabite princess Rut who forges her own path to Mount Sinai through her relationship with her mother-in-law NaomiRut is associated with the holiday of Shavuot because, with great self-sacrifice, she finds her way to the ultimate truth of the Torah. As she movingly declares to Naomi, “your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

This redemptive experience leads Rut to become the matriarch of King David’s royal lineage, and the ultimate ancestress of the Mashiach, who will bring the whole world to recognize Hashem and the Torah He gave on Mount Sinai on the holiday of Shavuot.

Map of Ruth

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