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As we approach the festival of Shavuot, our thoughts naturally turn to the story of Ruth, whose journey from Moabite outsider to revered matriarch in Israel is read in synagogues worldwide. This story is more than a historical account; it embodies profound lessons and spiritual insights. Here are five essential facts about Ruth that will enrich your understanding and appreciation of her story this Shavuot.

Fact 1: Ruth’s Conversion: A Model of Sincere Commitment

On Shavuot, we celebrate the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago. Jewish holidays are not just historical remembrances. The power and spiritual energy that came down during the original holiday comes down again each year. As such, we will be receiving the Torah again brand new, and rededicating our commitment, just as we did back then when we stood united at Mount Sinai saying, “Naase v’nishma.” (We will do and we will listen). Ruth’s steadfast commitment is one of the reasons her story is read during Shavuot.

Ruth’s decision to join the Jewish people was not a mere formality. Her famous declaration to Naomi, And Ruth said, “Do not entreat me to leave you, to return from following you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your G-d my G-d. (Ruth 1:16), reflects a profound and genuine commitment. It is taught that this emphasizes that Ruth’s conversion represents the epitome of sincere dedication to Judaism. Her acceptance of the Jewish faith and its mitzvot was total and heartfelt, demonstrating that true conversion transcends ritual—it involves an unwavering embrace of Jewish life and spirituality.

Fact 2: Ruth as the Ancestor of King David

One of the most remarkable aspects of Ruth’s story is her role as the great-grandmother of King David, and thus, an ancestor of the Messiah. This connection is particularly significant in Chassidut, which often highlights the divine orchestration in the lineage leading to the Mashiach (Messiah). Ruth’s inclusion in this lineage underscores the theme that spiritual greatness can emerge from the most unexpected places and people, affirming the inclusive and redemptive nature of Jewish destiny.

Fact 3: The Symbolism of Ruth’s Actions in the Field

Ruth’s gleaning in the fields of Boaz is laden with symbolic meaning. According to Chassidic teachings, her actions represent the spiritual work of birurim, the process of elevating and refining the sparks of holiness found within the mundane world. It is taught that Ruth’s meticulous effort in gathering grain symbolizes the soul’s mission to uncover and uplift the divine within everyday life. Her work in Boaz’s field is a microcosm of the Jewish spiritual journey, transforming the physical into vessels for holiness.


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Fact 4: Ruth and Chesed: The Power of Kindness

The Book of Ruth is often called the “Megillat Chesed” (Scroll of Kindness) because it highlights the paramount importance of chesed (loving-kindness). Ruth’s unwavering loyalty to Naomi, her willingness to leave her homeland, and her humility in seeking sustenance all reflect her extraordinary dedication to kindness and selflessness. Judaism teaches about the transformative power of chesed, noting that Ruth’s story teaches us how acts of kindness can change the course of history and bring about redemption.

Fact 5: Ruth’s Legacy: Embracing Divine Providence

Ruth’s life journey illustrates a profound faith in divine providence. Despite her initial hardships and losses, Ruth’s steadfast trust in G-d’s plan ultimately leads her to a life of blessing and honor. Jewish teachings often stress the importance of recognizing and embracing divine providence in our own lives. Ruth’s story serves as an inspiring example of how faith and perseverance can guide us through challenges and align us with our higher purpose.

Learning from Ruth’s Journey This Shavuot

As many communities will read the Book of Ruth this Shavuot, we are reminded of the timeless lessons embedded in her story. Ruth’s unwavering faith, her role in the lineage of King David, her symbolic actions, her embodiment of chesed (kindness) and her trust in divine providence offer profound insights that resonate through the ages. Through the lens of Chassidut, we see Ruth not only as a historical figure but as a beacon of spiritual strength and inspiration. May her story illuminate our path and deepen our understanding as we celebrate the giving of the Torah this Shavuot.

What do you most appreciate about Ruth? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!

Shavuot is a significant Jewish holiday that celebrates the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai over 3,000 years ago! In 2024, The two day holiday of Shavuot begins at sunset on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 and finishes at nightfall on Thursday, June 13, 2024. It is a time for joy, gratitude, and reflection. As we approach this special occasion, let’s put your knowledge of Shavuot customs to the test! Take this fun quiz to see how well you know the traditions associated with Shavuot. Get ready to learn something new and have fun along the way!

Shavuot Customs Quiz:

1. What is the literal meaning of the word “Shavuot”?
a) Giving of the Torah
b) Feast of Weeks
c) Festival of Lights
d) Day of Atonement

2. Shavuot is observed on the sixth day of which Jewish month?
a) Nisan
b) Tishrei
c) Iyar
d) Sivan

3. What agricultural aspect is closely associated with Shavuot?
a) Harvesting of wheat
b) Planting of trees
c) Grape harvesting
d) Olive oil production

4. Which of the following is a popular custom on Shavuot?
a) Eating unleavened bread
b) Building a Sukkah
c) Lighting the Hanukkah menorah
d) Eating dairy foods

5. True or False
The Torah is likened to nourishing milk. The gematria (numerical value) of the letters in the Hebrew word for milk (chalav) add up to 40, which is the same amount of days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.
a) True
c) False

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6. Shavuot marks the birthday and yahrtzheit (day of passing) of who?
a) King David
b) Moses
c) Joshua
d) Ruth

7. Which Book of the Torah is read in the synagogue on the first day of Shavuot?
a) Psalms
b) Exodus
c) Proverbs
d) Book of Ruth

8. What is the name of the traditional decorative element associated with Shavuot?
a) Challah
b) Menorah
c) Hamsa
d) Flowers



9. Shavuot is called by other names. Which does NOT refer to Shavuot?
a) Chag HaKatzir (The Harvest Festival)
b) Chag HaUrim (Festival of Lights)
c) Yom HaBikurim (Day of the First Fruits)
d) Zman Matan Torahteinu (Time of the Giving of Our Torah)

10. What is Tikkun Leil Shavuot?
a) A Shavuot Dessert
b) A Shavuot Song
c) An all-night study session
d) Time to light holiday candles

Scoring:

  • 0-3 correct answers: Keep exploring and learning about Shavuot customs!
  • 4-7 correct answers: Good job! You have a solid understanding of Shavuot customs.
  • 8-10 correct answers: Excellent! You are a Shavuot customs expert!

Check Your Answers! 

  1. D
  2. A.
  3. D.
  4. A
  5. A
  6. B
  7. D
  8. B
  9. C

It’s All Good!

How did you do on the Shavuot Customs Quiz? I hope you enjoyed testing your knowledge of this important Jewish holiday. Whether you aced the quiz or learned something new, Shavuot is a time for celebration and reflection. May this festival bring you joy, inspiration and a deeper appreciation for the richness of Jewish traditions. Happy Shavuot!

Share your holiday plans, thoughts or questions about Shavuot with me in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

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Have you ever been so excited about an upcoming event that you count down the days, eagerly marking each passing day on the calendar?

The holiday of Shavuot is just around the corner. But did you know that its date isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Torah? Instead, we count 49 days from the second night of Passover until the fiftieth day, and that’s when we celebrate Shavuot.

Why We Count Up, Not Down During Sefirat HaOmer

On Shavuot, we commemorate receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. It’s a time of renewal, as we accept the Torah anew each year. Despite the excitement, we don’t count down to Shavuot; we count up. But what does that mean, and why do we do it?

Spiral book entitled The Counting of the Omer by Rabbi Simon Jacobson

The Counting of the Omer by Rabbi Simon Jacobson is a great read.
Check it out HERE!

The Period of Sefirat HaOmer

The counting from the second night of Passover to Shavuot is known as Sefirat HaOmer, a 7-week period dedicated to spiritual refinement. We count upwards, reflecting our journey of personal growth and self-improvement.

Sefirat HaOmer is an incredible time of introspection and self-discovery. During these weeks, we focus on refining our character through the seven sefiros (attributes):

  • Chesed (Kindness)
  • Gevura (Strictness)
  • Tiferet (Beauty)
  • Netzach (Endurance)
  • Hod (Splendor)
  • Yesod (Foundation)
  • Malchut (Nobility)

Seven Weeks, Seven Sefirot

Each of the seven weeks focuses on one of these attributes. Every day within that week, we combine the primary attribute with one of the others, resulting in 49 unique combinations.

How the Spiritual Journey Works:

Week One: Chesed (Kindness)

  • Day 1: Kindness of Kindness
  • Day 2: Severity of Kindness
  • Day 3: Beauty of Kindness
  • …and so on.

Deep Dive into the First Week of Sefirat HaOmer

Day 1: Kindness of Kindness
This is straightforward: it’s nice to be kind.

Day 2: Severity of Kindness
This means it’s essential to set personal limits while being kind. Without healthy boundaries, you might overextend yourself or be taken advantage of.

Day 3: Beauty of Kindness
Tiferet is a blend of kindness and severity. Striking this balance leads to a beautiful outcome, reducing stress and enhancing well-being.

Make Each Evening Count During Your Spiritual Journey

Use each evening to reflect and improve yourself by focusing on these divine attributes. This self-refinement prepares you to receive the Torah in the most meaningful way on Shavuot.

Conclusion

As Shavuot approaches, embrace the spiritual journey of Sefirat HaOmer. Elevate yourself, refine your character, and get ready to receive the Torah anew. Make each day count, and transform your life with these G-d-given tools.

Watch the Video to Dive a Bit Deeper: Understanding the Spiritual Journey to Shavuot

A Question for You: How do you incorporate spiritual refinement into your daily life, and what practices help you stay mindful and balanced? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

For more insights on spiritual growth and preparing for Shavuot, subscribe to my blog and stay tuned for more inspiring content.

Let’s delve into the beauty and significance of Shavuot! In 2024, Shavuot begins at sundown on Tuesday, June 11 and ends at nightfall on Thursday, June 13. Here’s your guide to celebrating the Jewish holiday filled with unity, Torah wisdom and cherished customs. Join us as we explore the lighting of holiday candles, synagogue visits for the Ten Commandments reading, relishing a delectable dairy meal and immersing ourselves in the joyous tradition of night-long Torah study. Plus, discover the anticipation built during the counting period since Passover. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey together.

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Unity: Insights from the Lubavitcher Rebbe: The Lubavitcher Rebbe, one of the world’s most influential Jewish leaders, stressed the importance of unity within the Jewish community. He believed that unity not only brings blessings to the world but also serves as a foundation for spiritual growth. When we are truly unified as one people with one heart, then this is a fitting preparation for receiving the one Torah from the one God.

Lighting Holiday Candles: Illuminating the Path: As Shavuot commences, we light holiday candles, symbolizing the spiritual light that emanated from Mount Sinai during the Giving of the Torah. The warm glow serves as a reminder of the divine teachings that guide our lives and bring sanctity to our homes.

Let’s Talk About Shavuot: A Guide to Celebrating the Jewish Holiday!

Synagogue: The Ten Commandments Reading: A central element of Shavuot is the community’s gathering at the synagogue to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. This powerful moment allows us to relive the awe-inspiring experience of our ancestors standing at Mount Sinai, ready to receive the precious gift of the Torah. Through this communal observance, we connect with our heritage and strengthen our bond with the Divine.

Festive Dairy Meal: Nourishing the Body and Soul: Shavuot traditions include indulging in a delightful festive dairy meal. There are various explanations for this custom, including our ancestors’ hesitancy to consume meat immediately after receiving the dietary laws of kosher meat consumption, until they were properly prepared for doing so. Moreover, the Torah is often associated with “milk and honey,” highlighting its nourishing and sweet attributes. As we gather with loved ones, we savor dairy delicacies, celebrating the richness of our heritage.

Night-Long Torah Study: Immersion in Wisdom: Another unique aspect of Shavuot is the tradition of staying up all night engaged in Torah study. This practice reflects our deep commitment to the Torah and our eagerness to explore its profound wisdom. Communities organize inspiring lectures, study sessions and discussions, fostering an atmosphere of intellectual growth and connection throughout the night.

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Counting Anticipation: From Passover to Shavuot: Since the conclusion of Passover, we have been counting the Omer, a period of anticipation spanning seven weeks. This counting represents the journey from physical liberation to spiritual revelation, preparing us for the momentous occasion of receiving the Torah on Shavuot. Each day brings us closer to this joyous celebration, infusing it with a sense of eager expectation.

Embracing the Essence: Shavuot is a cherished Jewish holiday that celebrates unity, the Giving of the Torah, and the joys of communal observance. From kindling the holiday candles to hearing the Ten Commandments at the synagogue, indulging in a festive dairy meal to engaging in night-long Torah study, every aspect of Shavuot serves to deepen our connection to our heritage and strengthen our spiritual bonds.

As we reflect on the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe regarding unity and the anticipation built during the counting period, let us embrace the true essence of Shavuot. Together, we can create a ripple effect of blessings that extends far beyond ourselves.

Wishing you a meaningful and joyous Shavuot celebration filled with unity, Torah study, and divine inspiration. Chag Sameach!

Do you have a question about Shavuot or just want to send holiday wishes? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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