Wednesday, June 8, 2011

For Shavuot -- faces of Ruth

Today Jews celebrate Shavuot, also know by its Biblical names Chag HaKatsir, the [wheat] Harvest Festival, and Yom HaBikurim, Day of the First Fruits.
By tradition today also marks the day of King David's birth and death.

But mainly Shavuot is Zman Matan Toratenu, The Season of the Giving of our Torah.
Seven weeks (shavuot) have passed since Passover.
It took 49 (+1) days of wandering in the desert for God and Moses to prepare the People for the the biggest day in history.
In today's morning prayer service Exodus 19-20 is read.
All rise in silent reverence to listen to the Ten Commandments with the feeling that we all are standing at Mount Sinai.
The scroll of the Book of Ruth is also chanted, in loving memory of David and of Ruth, his Moabite ancestor, the mother of all converts.
Let's look at some very different portrayals of Ruth, all at the current exhibit of Bible story sculpture at Mamilla in Jerusalem.

The one above is called "Ruth and Naomi, the dialogue."
Sculptor Ruth Agmon quotes the famous passage in Ruth 1:16-17 that widowed Ruth speaks to her mother-in-law Naomi:

And Ruth said: 'Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God;
where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried . . .

"Ruth the Moabitess" by Judith Sudai who quotes Ruth 2:3:

So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

"Ruth" by Cathy Kerner. Ruth 2:2:

Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain . . .
"Ruth and Boaz" by Rachel Levi. Ruth 2:10:

Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?”

"Ruth" by Cathy Kerner.
Notice the crown of future kingship on the boy's head!
For other aspects of the holiday please click on my label "Shavuot."


Leif Hagen said...

Some wonderful statues helped nicely illustrate your posting! Very informative and interesting, Dina!

Rob and Mandy said...

My favorite has to be the last one. Eag sameach!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

The two especially flowing sculptures, one with wheat kernels and one with wheat sheaves, are my favorites here. I love the story of Ruth...I think it would be wonderful to hear it being chanted! Blessings to you on this holiday that marks so many important events.

ρομπερτ said...

Like the first one most.

Thank you very much for teaching me something that I did not know before.
Please have a wonderful day.

Al said...

Very nice statues. I wasn't familiar with Shavuot, despite my best friend growing up being Jewish, so thanks for the lesson!

spacedlaw said...

I am not too familiar with Ruth story but the sculptures are speaking of a highly influencial presence.

VP said...

I think and old fashioned god won't spare a couple bolts on some of these... Some are very nice!

Spiderdama said...

Interesting post and wonderful art.
God Pinse!

Pietro said...

All very interesting works of art.

Suzanne said...

This is a stunning post. I love the Story of Ruth and Naomi and these sculptures show such a wide interpretation.

JM said...

I like those on top, they somehow remind me of some elegant african handicrafts.