Alien Corn in an Alien Land – Shavuot

Nafoura

Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,

She stood in tears amid the alien corn;

Source: Line 65 of the Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats (1795-1821)

The story of Ruth is a story of an alien in an alien land as she originated from the neighbouring and somewhat distantly related country of Moab in the ancient times. I came to think of her and her story as tis the time of the year when this story is read and celebrated in Israel. Shavuot – the weeks – is what this word means; as does the word ‘pentecost’ meaning: fifty in Greek, which both count the fifty days – that is seven weeks – from the Passover to this festival as instructed.

I went to Israel at the time when the war had been going on in Irak for just a short while. Not the best time to go to the neighbourhood, I hear you think. True, but twas the time I had to get away to be totally in a place of absolute rest and recuperating from an extremely hectic time of work and whatnot. A time to get me head together again – not having to take anybody else into account in any way affecting me. I had given so much that I could not give no more, to put it bluntly.

The spa treatments, the complete rest and the time to be still did me wonders. Even with the F16’s and their relatives constantly flying really low – I was on the 12th floor in the hotel and they flew at that height over the Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel – did not disturb my recovery that much. I found the aisle seat to observe rather interesting, actually.

The temperature was just perfect – not too hot, not too cool – to take moonlight walks by the shore and while walking looking over the Dead Sea to the other side where the ancient Moab was and where the present day Jordan is situated, I came to think of Ruth, the Moabite – in that link there is a poem I was inspired to write about her. It must have been extremely tough for her to leave all that was home to her and go to a place unknown, unfamiliar and unsure. One has to be/have been an alien in alien land to get to the depths of her soul. I have been that several times in several countries. And like, Ruth, I did get integrated into the greater society as a member and not as an observer. Here some thoughts on the being an alien in the alien land as an immigrant that I wrote earlier on.

Ruth’s secret was the giving:

  • She gave of herself to her mother-in-law unconditionally.
  • She gave her birthright away in her own culture and country.
  • She gave of every morsel of food she got to Naomi, too.

I am sure that there is more but these are the ones that spring to my mind while writing this here and now. Ruth also received blessings and fame beyond measure. Even today we know who she was/is.

The story of Ruth is the most beautiful love story that I have ever read. I hope that the people in Israel do think of her in the midst of the feasting on the mountains of cheesecakes and the fresh fruit as this also the Festival of the First Fruit – HaBikkurim.

Tis for now again. Riihele xx.

The mountains of Moab are the most gorgeous shades of pinks – one of these days I shall paint them.

PS.
The photograph is by me of one of my very favourite restaurants and it’s in the Old City of Jerusalem. The wall on the right is the actual wall from the 1500’s that surrounds the entire old city there.

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