What Ruth can teach us about celebrating Shavuot


In preparation for God's appearance on Mount Sinai, Moses and the Israelite people "stood at the foot of the mountain" (Exodus 19:17) waiting to see and to hear what transpires.

The unusual preposition - be-tachtit ("at the foot of") - is understood in the Midrash to mean that the Jewish people were literally standing under the mountain. That is, at the moment God speaks the Ten Commandments, God also uproots Mount Sinai from the ground and holds it over the people, as if to say, "If you accept the Torah, fine; if not, here shall be your grave." (Avodah Zarah 2b) The implication is that the Je...

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