Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the Giving of the Torah, has always been a favorite of mine. We eat scrumptious dairy meals with family and friends, enjoy pleasant weather, listen to the Ten Commandments, and discuss how the Torah is relevant to our daily lives.

This year, as I prepared to celebrate the holiday in quarantine, I knew that I would have to seek inspiration in order to find meaning and pleasure in this lonely, unusual Shavuot.

I found it in a woman who lived 3,000 years before I was born: Ruth the Moabite, whose life-story is read on Shavuot.

Her story is a statement of enduring faith in the face of unexpected hardship. Ruth, the Moabite princess, left a life of luxury in the royal palace and wound up a poverty-stricken widow. Yet, she made every twist of her story into a turn for the better.

1. Ruth Didn’t Let Her Eyes off the Goal

When Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, was prepared to return to her home in Bethlehem, she beseeched her widowed daughters-in-law to remain in the comfort of their homes, the royal palaces. There, they would have had the opportunity to remarry and start their lives anew. Orpah hesitated but chose to return, while Ruth was determined to follow her mother-in-law, even if it meant struggling and poverty.

Ruth was inspired to attain her goal: To live the life of a Jew. And to achieve that goal, she left behind all she had. She abandoned her royal past and followed her mother-in-law Naomi to a foreign land. With the hope of joining with the Jewish people, and with a firm commitment to G‑d’s laws, she set off confidently on the long road ahead.

Ruth famously told Naomi, “Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.”

Like Ruth, I can look beyond the challenges of today and remain focused on the long term. Yes, quarantine is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but I can see the big picture: the precautions we are taking are saving lives.

2. Ruth Rose Above Social Isolation and Scarcity

Ruth accepted upon herself a life of bitter poverty, and, upon arriving in Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, became the object of gossip instead of the warmly welcomed friend and sister.

Ruth and her mother-in-law lived a lonely existence. To keep from starvation, Ruth went to collect fallen barley sheaves during the harvest. The Torah commands us that an owner of a field is not to cut the corners of his field but to leave them for the poor. Similarly, if one dropped grains while reaping, they were to be left for the needy. Ruth and Naomi lived from these meager gleanings and were happy with what they had.

Like Ruth, I can be happy even if I cannot get the exact product I am used to finding at the supermarket, and even if my Shavuot table is not surrounded by anyone beyond my immediate family.

3. Ruth Articulated Her Gratitude

Even when relegated to collecting leftovers, Ruth demonstrated gratitude. When an impressed Boaz instructed his workers to leave extra barley for this modest woman, Ruth did not take his largesse for granted. She lay at his feet, seeking his protection, recognizing that he held the keys to her future.

Ruth demonstrated gratitude towards Boaz and Naomi even when her world seemed to have turned upside down.

Ruth ultimately married Boaz and once again enjoyed a comfortable life. She later became the great-grandmother of King David, greatest king of Israel, whose anniversary of passing is commemorated on Shavuot.

Ruth’s idea of cultivating a sense of thankfulness and gratitude has been an important lesson for me. Giving thanks and recognizing our blessings increases joy and can lead to a calmer outlook during a stressful time. Thanking our essential workers and recognizing their sacrifice for all of us has been at the forefront of all of our minds.

4. Ruth Knew That True Wealth Is Spiritual Richness

Ruth's outstanding commitment to moving forward in her spiritual and personal development is a powerful lesson for each of us as we prepare to once again receive the Torah on Shavuot.

Life is a continuous learning experience, and as we keep rising and falling, like Ruth, we will recommit to our purpose and shine our unique individual light into the world.

5. Charity Is a Major Focus

The Torah’s laws are eternal and the lessons from Ruth’s kindness are inspiring reminders during the current spread of this pandemic. Charity, kindness and giving back have taken on new meaning and have had a positive, rippling effect.

It has been inspiring to see what so many organizations have done and how they answered the needs of others. I’ve seen people offer to pick up groceries, run errands, organize online programs, find ways to remotely cheer up friends, celebrate happy occasions and even toast l’chaim over zoom.

Ruth’s faith and loyalty, coupled with a tremendous inner strength, is a source of inspiration for me. During our current coronavirus hardships or the everyday dips and curves of life’s journey, I hope, like Ruth, to always be heading to a greater place in my life, to stay positive, to focus on the silver linings, and to plow ahead with joy and content.