Shavuot

Ruth in Boaz's Field

She could have stayed home, with her family, in her homeland.  But in a rare moment of grace, she did not turn her back on her mother-in-law.  "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your G-d my G-d"

Ruth the Moabite, who left her home, her people and her homeland to join her mother-in-law Naomi, a bereaved mother.  This utterance, spoken by Ruth to Naomi, echoes to this day in Jewish history as a unique expression of self-sacrifice.

Our Sages of Blessed Memory say that Ruth was endowed with all three characteristics of the Jewish nation: being merciful, modest and performing acts of loving-kindness.

Without being Jewish, Ruth fulfills the most important of Jewish values.  All around her, she spreads the charm of grace and the world responds to her with love: Three generations later, a direct descendent of Ruth's is born—David, King of Israel.

The Shavuot holiday marks the giving of the Torah to the Jewish People at Mount Sinai.  It is also known as the First Fruits Festival in which Jews customarily ascended to the Temple bearing the first fruits. These memories express the outlook that individuals don’t live with themselves alone.  Rather, they are part of the surroundings to which they are connected—through family ties, common culture, historical ties, and language.  It is an environment in which the individual has relations of charity and kindness, regardless of whether he or she is a Jew living in Rome, Paris or the U.S.