Shavu’ot 5775: Ruth, and Her Legacy: Dovid HaMelech and the Ge’ulah Shleima

Shalom Friends;

Our Shavuot vort is being sponsored by Daniel and Amy Michaels of Ramat Beit Shemesh in honor of the upcoming Chassuna of Aharon and Sheina. To the Michaels family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring (or as the case may be, co-sponsoring) a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Shavu’ot 5775: Ruth, and Her Legacy: Dovid HaMelech and the Ge’ulah Shleima

by Moshe Burt

The Sefer Shem Mishmuel (page 302) cites Rabbi Berachyah in Shemos Rabbah Perek 28, posuk 1:

“The Tablets were six tefachim (handbreadths) long — in some sense, Hashem grasped two tefachim, Moshe grasped 2 tefachim and 2 tefachim bridged the gap between them.”

Shem Mishmuel then explains (pages 302 – 304):

We can sub-divide all mitzvot, and indeed, all human endeavors into three spheres: thought, speech and action. There are some Mitzvot which require a Jew to think in a particular way. For example, the first of the Ten Commandments demands belief in Hashem.

Other Mitzvot are dependent on speech. For example, one must verbally recall Shabbos…. not lie to the Beis Din or speak badly of another. Finally, there are many Mitzvot which utilize the Jew’s power of action. There are requirements to put on tefillin, shake the lulav, eat matzah, etc.

…Each of these three divisions reflect different interactions between man and Hashem.

Action… is entirely in an individual’s domain. He is not forced to do anything that he doesn’t want to do.

The actions of the Jew determine everything, even the ultimate success or failure of the peoples of the world. This idea is illustrated by Chazal:

“After Yisrael did that wicked act [the sin of the golden calf], Hashem wanted to grab the tablets from Moshe. However Moshe prevailed and snatched them back.”

To conclude, the actions of a Jew can have enormous consequences for good or for bad. Literally, everything depends upon it. And it could be that when the Jews received the Torah at Sinai they had all this in mind when they proclaimed: “All that Hashem has said, we will do and hear.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 24, posuk 7)

We reflect on Shavu’ot about the story of Ruth, the Ger Tzeddeket who clung to Naomi saying;

“Do not urge me to leave you, to go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; where you 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. Thus may Hashem do to me — and more! — if anything but death separates me from you.” (Megillat Ruth, Artscroll Tanach series, Perek 1, posukim 14-17, pages 79-81)

There was no mandate, no earthly obligation for Ruth to follow Naomi. She could have done what her sister-in-law Orpah did — they were both widowed of Naomi and Elimelech’s sons Machlon and Kilyon. When after the deaths of her husband and two sons, Naomi sought to return to Eretz Yisrael and bid the two widows to return to their Moabite people and land. Orpah tearfully left Naomi and returned to Moav, while Ruth clung to Naomi and her Jewishness thus charting her life unalterably along a Jewish path.

Although these words seem to echo a previous year’s Shavu’ot vort, it’s important to focus on Ruth’s impact and her legacy, by way of the descendents of her union with Bo’az leading to Dovid HaMelech, and to the Ge’ula Shleima, the Ultimate Redemption, may we see and live it in our times.

This Shavu’ot will be the first Yom Tov in which this author davens Yizkor — the memorial service recalling the souls of the departed, for a parent, niftaret on Shabbos Sh’mini, Isru Chag Pesach in Eretz Yisrael. Although Yizkor is said before Mussaf on Yom Kippur, Succot and Pesach as well, there seems something special about this Yizkor and the crucial impact which Ruth has on the ultimate destiny of Am Yehudi.

The Artscroll Shavuot Machzor informs us about the custom of saying Yizkor for the souls of the departed:

The ancient custom of recalling the souls of the departed… is rooted in the fundamental Jewish belief in the eternity of the soul. When physical life ends, only the body dies, but the soul ascends to the realm of the spirit where it regularly attains higher levels of purity and holiness.

When this life is over, the soul can no longer perform good deeds; that method of attaining merit is the sole province of mortal man who must struggle with the baseness and selfishness of his animal nature. But there is a way for the disembodied soul to derive new sources of merit. History is a continuum. If we, the living, give charity or do good deeds due to the lasting influence or in memory of a departed parent or other loved one, the merit is truly that of the soul in its spiritual realm. Moreover, Hashem in His mercy credits our deeds to the departed one because he or she, too, would have done the same were it possible.

In other words, just as we say “Yaakov is still alive” or “Yaakov never died” by virtue of the good and the chessed (kindnesses) of B’nei Yisrael, and the souls of Ruth and Bo’az live on through Dovid HaMelech (Dovid ben Yishai) and Moshiach ben Dovid, our departed loved ones live on and their souls gain ever higher levels of kedusha (holiness) through our Avodat Hashem, our acts of kindness, our learning and our cleaving to OUR Eretz Yisrael.

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Chag Kosher V’Same’ach!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

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