web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

The Integral Link Between Nation And Family

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Avi Weiss
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The story of Ruth is one of a family in dissolution. Naomi’s husband and two sons die, leaving her with her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. By the end of the book, family is found once again. Ruth marries Boaz and they have a child Obed, who is raised by Naomi (Ruth 4: 17).

From this perspective, the book of Ruth parallels the story of Judah and Tamar in the book of Bereishit. There, too, the family of Judah was in disarray. Two of his sons, Er and Onan, had died. Judah was reluctant to have his third son marry Tamar, the widow of his older two sons.

At the conclusion of the story, Judah’s family also comes together after he has relations with Tamar from whom twins were born.

Interestingly, the mechanism used to reunite the fragmented family in both stories is yibum – the Levirate marriage. In the yibum process, a man is directed to marry the widow of his brother who had been childless. In the case of Ruth, she marries Boaz; Judah does the same when he marries Tamar.

Rabbi David Silber points out similarities in the yibum of the two stories. In both, a double yibum is performed. Judah marries Tamar since both of his deceased sons to whom Tamar had been married had no children. Boaz marries Ruth, but through Ruth, the line of Naomi, was perpetuated.

In both stories, the man performing the redemption is reluctant to perform the good deed. Judah hesitates to allow Tamar to marry into his family; Boaz also seems reluctant to marry Ruth.

Another common feature in each of these stories is that a woman teaches the reluctant man his responsibility to bring the family together. Tamar does this by reminding Judah of his responsibility to marry her and Ruth does the same, reminding Boaz of his responsibility.

Finally, it can be suggested that both stories are segues to our nationhood. Soon after Judah’s family is reunited we become a nation, and the book of Exodus begins. Soon after, Ruth and Boaz marry they have a child, from whom ultimately the Messiah will come – marking the redemption of the Jewish people.

Both of these stories remind us of the confluence between family and nation. In this time of great challenge and struggle in Israel, may we feel the pain of what is happening not merely as fellow members of the Jewish nation but in the deepest way, as members of our own family.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Integral Link Between Nation And Family”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Photo of Al Qaeda founder and former leader, Osama Bin Laden, seen above a Palestinian Authority flag.
New York Jury Convicts Saudi Man in 1998 Al Qaeda Attack on US Embassy
Latest Judaism Stories
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The-Shmuz

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Forever After?
‘Obligated for Challahh and Not Terumah’
(Kesubos 25a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

This was a spontaneous act of rest after the miracle of vanquishing their respective foes. The following year they celebrated on the same days as a minhag.

The way we must to relate to our young adult children is to communicate with genuine loving-kindness

Jewish prayer is a convergence of 2 modes of biblical spirituality, exemplified by Moses and Aaron

In holy places it’s important to maintain a level of silence permitting people to dialogue with God

Eventually, after some trial and error, including an experience with a prima donna and one with a thief, I baruch Hashem ultimately found a fine, honest and reliable household helper.

What fish-like characteristics does this month have that it should be exemplified in such a way?

How the 3 partitions of the mishkan each relate to a layer of creation, aiding our connection to God

Havdalah.com will be streaming an inspiring/live/MUSICAL/global Havdalah(NOT to fulfill obligation)

What about the Temple service required God to intervene commanding Aaron what he needed to wear?

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

In holy places it’s important to maintain a level of silence permitting people to dialogue with God

Rabbi_Weiss_Speaking500

A 3rd option: No demarcation between bein adam laMakom & bein adam lechaveiro; they’re complementary

The truth is that a mitzvah may not be the result of belief but rather the means to come to believe.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

The plagues don’t reveal a God of vengeance but of compassion; after each triplet Egypt can repent

“He looked this way and that way” means Moses looked within to see whether he was Egyptian or Jewish

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-integral-link-between-nation-and-family/2014/05/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: