As Shabbat ends this week, Shavuot begins, the day of the giving of the Torah. Shavuot is about appreciating our heritage and traditions, remembering our mutual commitments with God, and celebrating the spark of love between us and the God of our ancestors.
In addition to reading the Ten Commandments, the Book of Ruth is read on Shavuot. There is an agricultural connection, with the book mentioning the barley harvest, but it also has a connection with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The main character, Ruth, starts off as a gentile Moabite woman but decides to join our People with the famous, courageous words, “Wherever you go, I’ll go; where you sleep, I’ll sleep; your people will be my people, your God will be my God. Where you die I will die, and there I shall be buried.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
Judaism gives special honour to those who come from the outside and choose to join us, for they made this choice willingly, as opposed to the rest of us who never had to make that transition because we were born into it. But Shavuot gives ALL of us a yearly opportunity to re-commit to Judaism willingly and enthusiastically like Ruth did. Celebrating Shavuot should not merely commemorate a past event. It’s an anniversary celebration but also a ‘renewal of vows’ of sort.
Let’s take advantage of this opportunity, and make Shavuot count. Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach.