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Thursday, Sivan 3, 5779 / June 6, 2019 (47th day of the Omer)


The holiday of Shavuot, celebrating G-d’s giving the Torah at Mount Sinai, begins this Saturday night.  


Q.   What is the reason, that on Shavuot, we read Megilat Ruth, the Book of Ruth, which tells the story of Ruth, who converted to Judaism?


A.  Shavuot is the Yartzeit (day of passing) of King David, who was a descendant of Ruth. Thus, we read the wonderful story of King David's great-great-grandmother who converted to Judaism. Ruth, who came from a wealthy family in Moab, gave it all up and went to live in Israel, under very difficult financial conditions.


In addition to her relationship to King David, the story of Ruth is connected to Shavuot. At the Giving of the Torah, Jews were like converts for at that time they became G-d’s nation and G-d’s people. The story of Ruth and her acceptance of the Jewish faith is a lesson for all of us, how our attitude should be towards Torah and mitzvot.


Ruth didn't convert and accept the Jewish faith for any material gain.  In fact, she gave up a materially secure life for a life of poverty in order to join her mother-in-law, Naomi, and the people of Israel.   Her mother-in-law explained to her that joining the people of Israel at that time would bring great hardship for her.  Ruth replied, “Do not urge me to leave you, for wherever you go, I will go; where you will lodge, I will lodge; Your people are my people and your G-d is my G-d; where you die, I will die and there I will be buried!


The story of Ruth teaches us that we must not study the Torah and fulfill mitzvot for personal gain.  Rather, we should feel fortunate that we were chosen to be entrusted with the Torah and mitzvot and do our best to fulfill G-d’s commandments, regardless of the effort or expense involved.


It is important to remember that children played a very important rolein our receiving the Torah.  Before G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people, He demanded guarantors that the Torah will be studied and cherished.


The Jewish people made a number of suggestions which were rejected by G-d. When they declared, "Our children will be our guarantors,” G-d immediately accepted and agreed to give them the Torah. Giving our children a Jewish education from a very early age and supporting Jewish education is essential to the survival of Torah, Judaism and the Jewish people.


On the first day of Shavuot(Sunday, June 9)it is important for everyone, men women and children, to attend synagogue to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.