Harvesting Compassion in Our Lives


We celebrate Shavuot, “the feast of weeks,” seven weeks — or 50 days — after the first night of Pesach. On Shavuot, we honor the revelation and Israelite acceptance of the Torah as God’s Law given on Mount Sinai. During services on the second morning of Shavuot, we read the Book of Ruth. A Moabite woman, Ruth marries an Israelite man who dies suddenly. Rather than return to her Moabite family, she follows her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi, back to Bethlehem.

Ruth’s story takes place during the season of the barley harvest; thus, the harvest serves as an agricultural occasion for Shavuot. For this activity, consider the two mental health middot that relate to Shavuot and Ruth’s story. Writing on three straws of barley below, consider the ways you show compassion for yourself and others, and how others show compassion for you. Use one straw for self-compassion, one straw for compassion for others, and a third for compassion FROM others. You may wish to cut out the shape of the individual barley straws and write your reflection on the back of each. 



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