Holidays

Shavuot :: brief musings on Ruth and David

King David died on his birthday, Shavuot, a day we read Megillat Ruth. The name Ruth holds the first three letters of the word Torah… but where is the heh? The letter heh stands for HaShem. The word Torah means “instruction,” a one-way instruction like a ray of light from G-d to each of us — Torah, orah. When added to Noah’s seven commandments given to all people after the flood, the gematria value of the word Torah (606) equals 613, which is the complete number of commandments that G-d put into the world, the taryag mitzvot.

When Ruth said to her mother-in-law Noemi, “Your G-d is my G-d,” she received kiddusha. Unless the imprimatur of Torah is alight in our deeds, then G-d’s words do not leave the desert along with us. We hear the messianic footsteps near. Ruth was a Moabite princess. Her father was forsworn from us, but en route from Moab, Ruth swore alliance to Noemi’s Universal G-d. Ruth willingly took upon herself the taryag mitzvot, the 613 Commandments.

The word harot, or “Torah” spelled in reverse, refers to women blessed with conception. Boaz made a courageous acceptance of this way-forsaken woman, another messianic leap. Their son Oved—“servant, worshipper”—became the grandfather of King David, and David, of course, is the inchoate presence of Meshiach ben David.

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