The Akeda Foundation
"We are our brothers and sisters keepers".
D’rosh: Megillat Ruth –Book of Ruth—‘The Dark Side’
There are many things that can be said but predictability is clearly not one of them. I remember sitting in Hebrew School reading Ruth with all the syrup (remember I’m from Vermont-in fact we harvested the kosher syrup tapping this Sugar Season). And I gotta tell you I bought it all. Megillat Ruth the essence of friendship loyalty and kindness.
Ruth was the Biblical version of “Play It Forward”…”one kindness or good turn deserves another”… (Ruth 2: 7-12). Ruth staying with Naomi should have G-d’s good graces and protection, especially since she also a Jew by choice. Bravo Channel’s Debbie Stanger on “the Millionaire Match Maker” (her Mom was a Shadkan-Match Maker paid for services) isn’t even close to Naomi, nor is Match.com or any of the current hi tech dating services .Why? Naomi is leaving nothing to chance.
Imagine 2017 Ruth and Boaz sitting in their respective bath tubs holding hands in the sunset today with a voice over …”when the moment is right”… You know the rest. No barn floor for them no sneaking out before sunrise.
Ernie Kado’s smash “Mother in Law” hit the charts. I was in confirmation class whose ceremony would take place in the Sanctuary on Shavuos Don’t get me wrong the Book brings to life the essence of human emotions ,loss, heartbreak, love, money greed ,self –preservation ,schemes, kindness and raw sex with a purpose. Got your attention now don’t I?
Ruth was a the first ‘Jew ‘ by choice or convert who truly hung in there with her mother in law Naomi as they go to Bethlehem to catch up with widow Naomi’s family Elimelech and Boaz as redeemers of Ruth’s and Naomi’s Estates.
Elimelech was the ‘first redeemer’ but worried about the impact of his son’s Estate rights with Naomi in the family .What about family responsibility? He turns the opportunity down making Boaz a happy guy as ‘The Redeemer’. (Ruth 3-8).
Naive wasn’t even a close description of my ability “to turn it, turn it again” to capture the meaning of the words conceptually and actually.
What happens to the innocence … “where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your G-d my G-d”… (Ruth I: 16). What do we know in brief that got us here. Naomi is a widow. Her Daughter in Laws Orpah (not to be confused with my old neighbor in Baltimore Oprah before she went to Chicago) and Ruth both lost their husbands. Tries to convince them both to leave and return to their homes .Orpah and Naomi part while Ruth stays with Naomi. Hey –YOU THERE ---STOP!!! ETHICS OF THE FATHERS TEACHES STUDY IS NEVER DONE …”TURN IT AND TURN IT AGAIN…EVERYTHING IS IN IT”. (Pirkei Avot 5:25)—WHY? The goal is financial security and heirs for Ruth and foster mother Naomi as it turns out. a beauty in her own right. Naomi is pretty slick she sends Ruth to Boaz’s field to glean the corners. He sees her and tells her go nowhere else she will be safe. Meanwhile she’s checkin’ out the merchandise and gets with Naomi to close the deal.
Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), teaches us … “Know where you came and where you are going”... (Pirkei .3:1). Naomi knew exactly where she was going. After all who but Naomi could release information knowing it would be community news that Ruth was a great daughter in law in every respect. Too bad she’s a widow. Translation she’s “a keeper” and available now.
Naomi tells Ruth not only that she should go to him, Boaz, and engage him (make love thru seduction) then get out before sunrise. How romantic eh? No ‘turtle doves cooing’. Just get it on and go. (Sleep at his feet-come on we can do better than that) “Turn it again and again”.
Not even the original Dallas T.V. Show could come up with this. The late J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) would be jealous.
Ruth under Naomi’s direction bathes, anoints herself, dresses up goes to the threshing room floor. Today’s dress would leave little to the imagination. Let him eat and drink but don’t disclose your identity find out where he is “uncover his feet and lie down” –RUTH BABY THIS IS NOT ROLE MODEL MATERIAL. A GOLD DIGGER … AND FOR BOAZ A GIFT FROM THE G-D’S BECAUSE UNBEKNOWNST TO HIM NAOMI TELLS HER HE’LL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. WOW!!!!
AND IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH “HE WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO” SHE (RUTH) REPLIED “I WILL DO EVEYTHING YOU TELL ME”. SHE SNEAKS IN LAYS AT HIS FEET AND THEN TELLS HIM… “AFTER IDENTIYING HERSELF AS RUTH YOUR HANDMAID. SPREAD YOUR ROBE OVER YOUR HAND MAID FOR YOU ARE A REDEEMING KINSMAN”. (RUTH 3.1-10).
BOAZ THEN GOES AND TELLS HER “THERE IS ANOTHER REDEEMING KINSMAN BUT STAY THE NIGHT”. IF HE REDEEMS GOOD IF NOT I’LL REDEEM. (RUTH 13.10-13).
BUT SEX IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY.
We assume she stays following Naomi’s orders to do what he says. Talk about chutzpah he meets the first redeemer who declines but do you think Boaz would tell him... AND THE WITNESSES COMPRISED OF TEN ELDERS WE GOT IT ON ALL NIGHT....
No way. Boaz redeems her and her Estate. Boaz married Ruth and he cohabited with her. Yes more sexual intercourse resulting in Obed being born and Naomi became the first Biblical ‘foster mother’. Obed had Jessie and Jessie King David. (Ruth 4.13-18).
Bet you’ll never look at the Book of Ruth the same way. “TURN IT, TURN IT AGAIN”. Chag Samaech-Happy Holiday. B’Shalom/Reb’Z/R’Z/STU