When we look at the world around us, sometimes we wonder: are the sequence of events coincidental or is there an element of destiny? The authors of Ruth Rabbah believe that there is only so much we can control, and point out places in the book of Ruth where they see a Divine presence.
Boaz and Ruth first meet in the fields while the poor are collecting the produce that has fallen to the ground which, according to the Torah, rightfully belongs to them.
Why is Boaz so scrupulous about allowing the poor to glean in his fields? Read what Ruth Rabbah has to say about this in Source 1
Perhaps Boaz sensed the support of the Divine presence when he looked at the poor people collecting their rightful gleanings in his field.
Another example of happy coincidence occurs at the end of the book of Ruth, when a series of events took place making it possible for Boaz to marry Ruth. According to the rules of #Yibbum (Levirate marriage), the closest relative of a childless widow should marry her so that they may have children together. If he does not want to marry her, there is a ceremony (#Halitzah) to relinquish the responsibility. Boaz was not the closest relative, yet he wanted to marry Ruth, so the ceremony had to be performed with the man who actually was the closest relative.
How is it that all of the complicated details of the halitzah ceremony took place in a timely manner? Ruth Rabbah believes that when something is meant to be, the circumstances will work out.
The holiday of Shavuot contains echoes of this question of fate and destiny. Was it the Jewish people’s destiny that they would receive the Torah, or did the people play an active role in accepting it? One midrash teaches that the Torah existed even before the world was created, perhaps implying that it was bound to happen. However, another midrash tells the story of the Torah being offered to many other nations before the Jewish people accepted it actively and wholeheartedly. Shavuot, the anniversary of giving of the Torah, is an opportunity for us to appreciate the blessings in our lives, both deserved and undeserved.
When events happen as you wish, how do you view them? Do you see them as a coincidence or was there an element of fate or predetermination?