web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



How Refusing To Be Ruth-less Led To Moshiach


Kupfer-062212

By now just about all of us are in summer mode, and Yom Tov cheesecake and blintzes are out of our minds – though not necessarily off our bodies. Nonetheless, the topic I am addressing is tied to the festival of Shavuot, as I wrote it just after the holiday had ended. (This time warp often occurs when addressing deadlines ahead of time, a necessity when I know that visiting a near minyan of pre-school grandchildren in three cities will make writing a coherent column rather challenging).

Now that the time discrepancy has been explained, while I was in shul on the second day of Shavuot, (no staying at home when Yizkor is recited, no matter how many little ones are clamoring for attention) I took a few moments to glance at the English translation of Megillat Rut. The story itself is quite engaging in any language, but reading it in your “mamaloshen” adds to the enjoyment and appreciation of the drama inherent in the drastic and unpredictable reversal of fortune of the two women chronicled in the book.

The aristocratic Jewess, Naomi and the Moabite princess, Rut, go from riches to rags and happily, back to riches.

Besides being a compelling story of how life can be a roller coaster, Megillat Rut is replete with invaluable lessons on how to behave in the way the Torah instructs us. Through Rut’s relationship to her dead husband’s mother, we see what unwavering loyalty and devotion is all about, (and that mothers and daughters-in law can get along) and we are shown the virtue and reward of “stepping up to the plate” and accepting your halachic obligations with grace and an open mind, as Boaz did. (His honorable act resulted in his being the ancestor of the royal house of David and Moshiach. It doesn’t get better than that!)

We also see the importance of hakarat hatov. Naomi did not have an “es kimt mir” attitude regarding the multi-faceted sacrifice and mesirat nefesh that Rut unflinchingly suffered in order to ensure her mother-in-law’s well-being. Naomi is fully aware and appreciative of Rut’s heroic and selfless efforts on her behalf, and she frets over Rut’s future. In perek gimmel, Naomi declares, “My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?” It is through Naomi’s cleverness – fueled by her unselfish willingness to let go of her only “pillar” – that Rut connects with Boaz. Naomi’s hakarat hatov launches the process that leads to the future birth of Moshiach.

But there is yet a bigger message to absorb and internalize from the trials and tribulations of the megilla‘s namesake, revealed in three statements uttered by Boaz. In Chapter 2, Verse 9, Boaz lets Rut know that he has instructed his men to not touch her. But he is not done. For in Verse 15, it is written, “Boaz commanded his young men, saying: ‘Let her (referring to Rut) glean even among the sheaves, and put her not to shame.’” As if his message of protection was not enough, in the next verse he orders his men “not to rebuke her.”

The question that begs to be asked is why Boaz thought it was necessary to warn his staff/workers not to shame Rut, and to refrain from any physical or verbal assault that would result in hurting and humiliating her, or making her feel worthless, inadequate or inferior. Why did he feel it necessary to forbid them to harass or bully Rut or cause her any physical or emotional distress?

It would appear that Boaz surrounded himself with pious men, and that he hired people who were G-d fearing and shomer mitzvot. They obviously knew the halacha regarding gleanings as commanded in the Torah. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that they were also fully cognizant of the biblical commandment to be kind to widows, and to welcome the ger in their midst – of which Rut was both.

So why did Boaz feel it was necessary to admonish his men not to not touch Ruth, nor rebuke her or “put her to shame”? Why did he feel compelled to remind his men to be menschlich?

My guess is that he knew human nature all too well. He knew that being raised in a Torah environment does not guarantee a person will act with derech eretz - with respect and consideration. One need only look at the sefira period that precedes Shavuot to realize how true that is. We mourn the premature deaths of thousands of talmidei chachamim – the pious, brilliant students of Rabi Akiva, who perished because of a lack of respect for one another. If these incredible scholars, so saturated with Torah, were able to act in a manner that was deemed disrespectful or inappropriate, how much greater the likelihood that a regular Yid could indulge in bad behavior?

About the Author:


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 “How Refusing To Be Ruth-less Led To Moshiach”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
One of the photos displaying wares for sale on the Baqiyah Creation page on Facebook. Sept. 20, 2014.
Pricey ISIS ‘Chotchkes’ on Amazon, Facebook For Sale
Latest Sections Stories
Calmer Times. Breslov chassidim on erev Rosh Hashanah in 2012 at the grave of Rav Nachman in Uman.

As optimistic as Menachem Rosenberg is – and he said he is going to Uman – he’s sure that this year, most of the travelers will not tour other religious sites or places in Ukraine.

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-080114

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

Kupfer-071814

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Lately I have been hearing quiet grumblings from people who admit that they regret not encouraging their sons to get a post-high school education after a year or two of learning.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/how-refusing-to-be-ruth-less-led-to-moshiach/2012/06/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: