Ruth in Boaz's field. (Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1828) (Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1828)
Book of Ruth

Stand back, and watch the movie unfold – God is in control. 

This week we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, commemorating the Revelation at Mount Sinai and the Giving of the Torah. It is customary on Shavuot to read the Book of Ruth.

Ruth was a Moabite widow, having been to married to the son of Naomi, who was also widowed from her husband. After living in Moab for quite some time, Naomi decided it was time to return to the land of Israel. Naomi said goodbye to her two daughters-in-laws (Ruth and Orpa) and went on her way. Ruth, however, insisted on joining Naomi and moving to the Land of Israel. Naomi tried to persuade her against doing so, but to no avail. Ruth was incredibly attached and loyal to her mother-in-law.

After arriving in Bethlehem as two poor widows, Naomi and Ruth found themselves living on charity by gleaning the fields for leftover and forgotten produce. One of the fields was the that of Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s late husband. Boaz and Ruth fell in love, got married and, as they say, lived happily ever after.

As the verse in the Book of Ruth explains, “…and fate [Vayiker mikreh] made her happen a parcel of land belonging to Boaz.” This is a very odd way of introducing us to the encounter of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David, the forerunner of the Messiah. Is Scripture recording this series of events as mere “fate” or “coincidence?” Of course not. This was Divine providence.

There is a hidden lesson here. So often in life, we think that what happens to us is coincidence, but it’s not. Everything is pre-ordained. Everything happens by means of Divine providence.

We are told that God likes to hide Himself from the daily workings of life. He lets nature take its course, while secretly directing it from above. Whether it’s a major event or some “coincidence” taking place in another person’s field, don’t be deceived. Stand back, and watch the movie unfold – God is in control and has a purpose for everything. It is all part of a Divine plan.

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel

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