Leonard Cohen, "Whither Thou Goest", Book of Ruth and Shavuot

From May 30, 2009  leonardcohenforum

On Saturday, May 30, 2009, I attended Synagogue services to celebrate the holy day of Shavuot.

Shavuot commemorates the day God gave the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai.

Often chanted on this day, is a selection from the "Book of Ruth", as King David – whose passing occurred on this day – was a descendant of Ruth.

The cantorial selection was, “Whither thou goest…” I become so emotional, having seen in person our Maestro sing his own tender and heartfelt performance of Guy Singer's song and watched and listened to it a zillion times. I cracked up weeping.
In traditional settings, the Book of Ruth is read on the second day of Shavuot. The book is about a Moabite woman who, after her husband dies, follows her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi, into the Jewish people with the famous words "whither you go, I will go, wherever you lodge, I will lodge, your people will be my people, and your God will be my God." She asserts the right of the poor to glean the leftovers of the barley harvest, breaks the normal rules of behavior to confront her kinsman Boaz, is redeemed by him for marriage, and becomes the ancestor of King David.

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