Shavuot: Seeking Our Redeemer
“His redeemer [goalo] shall come who is closest [hakarov] to him” (Vayikra 25:25), refers to The Holy One, Blessed Is He, as it is stated: (Yirmiyahu 50:34) “Their Mighty Redeemer [goalam], Hashem, Master of Hosts is His Name.” And “Who is closest to him” also refers to God, as is it written: (Psalms, 148:14) “And He will have exalted the pride of His people, which is praise for all His devout ones, for the Children of Israel, the people near Him [am kerovo]”. (Midrash Tanchuma, Behar #4)
It is a beautiful image to think of ourselves, the Children of Israel, as those who have become impoverished; and of God as our closest relative, responsible to step in as our Redeemer and save us from the bitterness of our plight. But how does this process work? Are we to simply wait and rely on the fact that we are considered God’s close relatives and that He will redeem us automatically?
The story of Ruth describes a woman’s quest for her redeemer; a quest filled with courage, perseverance, strength, wisdom and vision. An unusual quest, one that takes surprising turns, yet one that brings about the most incredible results. She starts off determined to find someone in whose eyes she will find favor. But she doesn’t stop there; she understands that God is responding to her quest and that there is more to come, as long as she yearns for more. And as she progresses on her journey to be redeemed, she grows and defines herself as a person while affecting those around her. Her search culminates in not simply finding her personal redeemer- Boaz- but in planting the seeds for the House of David and the ultimate Redemption.
This should be our quest too as we yearn for God to redeem us. A quest that expresses our commitment to live as “Am Kerovo”, as God’s close relative. A quest that reflects our desire to find favor in His eyes. A quest in which we engage ourselves with passion, no matter where it takes us. And more than anything, a quest where we know that there is always more to come.