Ruth and Shavuot
I attended synagogue services on the holiday of Shavuot morning, and we spent a half-hour reading the Book of Ruth. Is there any special connection between Ruth and Shavuot?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
The Torah and prophetic reading on Yom Tov always relate to a deeper theme of the day.
In this case, Ruth is the ancestor of King David, who was born on Shavuot, and died on Shavuot.
Another reason is because Ruth is the quintessential Jewish convert, and on the very first Shavuot - when the Torah was given at Mount Sinai - each Israelite essentially became a "Jew by Choice." That's why the Talmud and Code of Jewish Law use the Sinai experience as a basis for determining the requirements of all future converts:
1) Mikveh - All converts must immerse in a Mikveh (ritual bath), as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:14, 24:8).
2) Milah - Male converts must undergo circumcision, as the Israelites did before leaving Egypt (Exodus 12:48 and Joshua 5:5).
3) Mitzvot - All converts must accept to observe all 613 mitzvot of the Torah, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:3).
Interestingly, the Torah intimates that the souls of eventual converts were also present at Sinai, as the verse says: "I am making [the covenant] both with those here today before the Lord our God, and also with those not here today." (Deut. 29:13)