The Jewish Holiday of Shavuos

December 3, 2009
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The Jewish Holiday of Shavuos

This is an edited copy of an article that I wrote last year in a different blog before the Jewish holiday Shavuos.

Jewish Holidays Image by Bianca GubalkeThe Jewish Holiday Shavuos

The next holiday coming up in the Jewish calendar is Shavuos, which falls on May 29 this year, (and the evening before).

Shavuos mainly celebrates the day when historically the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Addtionally, like with all of the holidays, the spiritual illumination that was then repeats itself every year, such that Shavuos is also a day when we re-receive the Torah again, every one according to his sensitivity and according to his preparation.

On Shavuos We Read Megillas Ruth

One of the highlights of Shavuos is that we read Megillas Ruth (Rus, Rut). There are several explanations brought down to explain the connection between Shavuos and Ruth:

When we received the Torah, that constituted to a certain extent a kind of a conversion, in the sense that before the giving of the Torah we were only obligated to keep the seven Commandments that the A’lmighty expects and requires from all humanity, but when we received the Torah we became obligated in all 613 Commandments. This is similar to Ruth, who converted to Judaism and took upon herself all of the commandments.

Additionally, what we really gained at Mount Sinai was 606 commandments, since we were already obligated before then in seven. 613 minus seven equals 606. The gematria, the numerical equivalent, of Rus is 606.

Additionally we only received the Torah via a certain preparation which is what a convert goes through: Bris Mila, immersion in a Mikve, etc. We say to Ruth, so to speak, who was the mother of royalty, “We all were also converts at that time”.

The setting for the story of Ruth was in the barley harvest season. Shavuos falls during the harvest season.

To show that accepting Torah takes self-sacrifice, even sometimes to the extent of suffering and poverty.

The Megilla of Ruth talks about the lineage of King David, who was born and passed away on Shavuos.

Boruch Rappaport


Author: Boruch Rappaport

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