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Holiday Central > Shavuot > Megilat Rut
Reading Ruth: Rhyme and Reason
By: Yael Rosenberg, Contributor
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The book of Ruth (Heb. מגילת רות, Megillat Rut or Megillas Rus) is traditionally read on the festival of Shavuot (Heb. שבועות) or Pentecostal.

Megillat Rut was written by the Prophet Shmuel (שמואל הנביא) and it is customarily read on holiday of Shavuot. In the Diaspora, where the holiday is celebrated over two days, Megillat Rut is read on the second day.

There are many reasons why we the Book of Ruth is read on the holiday of Shavuot, some of which are enumerated below:

1. The Torah was given to the Jewish People on this day, the sixth day of Sivan, and just as Torah learning is acquired through pain and poverty(תורה נקנית ביסורים), so did Ruth endure poverty and sorrow in her quest to become part of the Jewish Nation.

2. Like Ruth who converted and was accepted by God, so too the nation of Israel enter the covenant with God this day as they eagerly accepting the Torah.

3. The gematria or numerical value of the Hebrew letters of Ruth רות is 606 ("ר" the letter "Reish" valued at 200, "ו" the letter "Vav," valued at six, and "ת" the letter "Tav," valued at 400). On the holiday of Shavuot the Jewish nation received 606 mitzvoth (commandments) in addition to the Seven Laws of Noah (Hebrew: שבע מצוות בני נח‎ Sheva mitzvot B'nei Noach, also referred to as the Noahide Laws or Noachide Code).

4. King David was born and seventy years later died on the holiday of Shavuot.  David, the head of the Judean Kingdom was Ruth's, great grandchild.  Ruth is often referred to as Em Hamlchut "אם המלכות" the Mother of the Kingdom.

5. The central theme of the book of Ruth is Chessed. The book relates the loving kindness Ruth bestows on her mother in lay Naomi, the benevolence shown by the people of Bethlehem towards the impoverished and Boaz’s thoughtfulness towards Ruth. The book of Ruth teaches us that not only does the Torah, which was given to the Israelites on Shavuot, instructs us to accept converts but commands us to treat them with loving kindness.

6. Shavuot is also call Chag Hakatzir (חג הקציר) or The Harvest Festival. The Book of Ruth paints for us a picture of the harvest time in Israel. It shows us how the Jewish people by following the laws of the Torah, treat their poor with loving kindness during the harvest.

One of our great heroines, Ruth is now and forever beloved and revered.  So much does Ruth, in her modesty of nature, her dignity, and he grand deeds, demonstrate for us what a true friend, a true daughter, a true woman is made of. And thus, now and forever will Ruth represent and personify nobility, humility, and loving kindness.

Mazor Guide to Shavuot, Pentecost, brings you much more about the holiday, its meaning and its traditions... See the links below.

MazorGuide Recommended Reading

RUTH - ArtScroll Edition
A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources

The ArtScroll Series presents the comments of the classic giants of ancient and contemporary times in a logical, comprehensible manner, like a master teacher on an exciting voyage of intellectual discovery.

  • Entire Hebrew text reset in clear modern type
  • Flowing English translation
  • Commentary anthologized from 2,000 years of Talmudic and Rabbinic sources
  • Overviews exploring the hashkafah/philosophical background of each volume.

To Be A Jew: A Guide To Jewish Observance In Contemporary Life (Paperback)
by Hayim H. Donin (Author)

 

 
     
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