Latest update: June 25th, 2012
Boaz was descended from Yehuda, the son of Yaacov, the grandson of Yitzchok, and the great-grandson of Avraham. Yehuda had the best yichus possible, and was, based on his own merits, a gadol hador. Yet twice he fahrshamed his daughter-in-law, Tamar: First, he forced her to stay a childless widow when he refused to let his son marry her and second, he accused her of being a loose woman when he himself acted in a manner that can only be viewed as prost and blatantly hypocritical.
If Yehuda, even briefly, acted like a self-righteous bully, it goes without saying that lesser men could easily behave in a cruel and callous manner to those more vulnerable and powerless.
The wise sage Hillel brilliantly summed up the Torah – which the holiday of Shavuot celebrates – when he addressed the proposal of a pagan nobleman that he teach him the entire Torah while standing on one leg.
Without any hesitation, Hillel stated that the Torah was all about treating others the way you would want to be treated (and conversely, not doing to others that which you would emphatically not want done to you). The rest is commentary of this concept. End of story.
It is a timeless precept that constantly needs to be reinforced and repeated.
Boaz knew that even the greatest tzaddikim can at times lose control and give in to the very human traits of being intolerant, arrogant, patronizing, dismissive, self-serving, and enhancing their self-image and sense of superiority by minimizing others – usually those they perceive as being in a weaker position physically, socially, financially, etc.
When people treat each other fairly and with respect, despite their differences – rich or poor, young or old, married or single, frum from birth or baal teshuva; if they are tolerant of other points of views – especially in regards to religion – the inevitable outcome is achdut, unity. We become Am Achad. When we recite the Shema we declare Hashem’s Oneness. It is time to declare our oneness. Only then can we treat others in the manner we want to be treated.
As we can see from Boaz’s actions, that is what will lead to the coming of Moshiach and our ultimate redemption
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