by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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YOM TOV SELECTIONS - MEGILAS RUS - 5769 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Va’y’hi” – This word phonetically alludes to the anguished cry WOE. WOE to the generation that judges its judges. This is a great embarrassment. (Medrash Rus)
This is also alluded to in the first letters of the words “Va’y’hi Bi’mei SHfote Hashoftim,” which spell out BUSHoH. (Chid”o)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Va’y’hi bi’mei shfote hashoftim” – The head judge, Boaz, does not have his name mentioned in this verse, only later when Naomi and Rus come to Eretz Yisroel. This is because of the deplorable state of affairs, when the common folk judged their leaders and judges (Medrash Rus), which in turn was the cause for the famine. Only when Boaz helped out Naomi and Rus and this brought to the continuation of the royal lineage of the house of Moshiach, was his name mentioned, as per the verse, “Zeicher tzadik livrochoh” (Mishlei 10:7). (Rabbi Yoseif Yichya)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Shfote hashoftim” – The medrash also criticizes the judges of that generation. Woe to the judges who need to be judged by the nation. We now clearly understand why a famine came. Rashi on Dvorim 16:18 writes that in the merit of appointing proper judges the nation merits to be sustained in the land, “Shoftim v’shotrim ti’ten l’cho …… l’maan tichyeh.” We can infer that when improper judges are installed we will not be sustained. (Holy Alshich)
Alternatively, the connection between disrespect for judges and famine is as follows: The verse says, “Elohim lo s’kal’eil” (Shmos 22:27), do not cheapen judges. The next verse says, “M’lei’os’cho v’dimacho lo s’acheir,” do not delay tithing. We can derive from this juxtaposition that when we hold judges in high regard we will have a full crop, allowing for tithes. When the nation denigrates its judges there will be no crops to tithe. (N’tzi”v)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Shfote hashoftim” – When a nation is deserving of punishment Hashem first punishes the judges. Since they are responsible to see that people walk the straight and narrow and comply with the Torah’s dictates, when they do not fulfill their responsibilities, the Judge of the world punishes the worldly judges first. (Zohar Chodosh)
He goes on to say that Hashem is very demanding of judges. A judge can technically rule correctly and be sternly punished, while another judge can technically rule incorrectly and receive Heavenly reward. A judge who wants to let a wicked person off the hook can split hairs in the testimony of those who speak against the wicked person and conclude that there are not sufficient grounds by the letter of the law to punish him. That judge will be resoundingly punished. On the other hand, in a situation when public morals are low and one testifies that someone acted obscenely with a married woman in the public domain, even though the act is not deserving of the death penalty, if the judge orders them to be put to death as a safeguard against a lax attitude towards immorality, he will be greatly rewarded, having fulfilled the words of our sages, “vaasu s’yog laTorah” (Pirkei Ovos 1:1).
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Va’y’hi ro’ov bo’oretz” – The medrash says that there was a famine, a shortage, of spirituality. This is alluded to in the words, “va’y’hi ro’ov bo’oretz,” whose numerical value is the same as Yerusholayim, the holy spiritual city. (Based on Rokei’ach)
The Chasam Sofer uses this as a bit of an excuse for Elimelech’s forsaking Eretz Yisroel. Since there was a hunger for Torah, meaning that the general populace was lacking in Torah, the sanctity in the Holy Land was not at its peak, so he found it easier to leave.
An alternative excuse is based on the statement of Chaza”l (gemara K’subos 68a) that he who turns a blind eye to those who are in need of charity, is equated to one who serves idols. One who lives outside of Eretz Yisroel is considered as if he has no G-d (gemara K’subos 110b). Elimelech, realizing that he was not responding to the needs of the destitute, calculated that it was better to leave the land and only be considered as one who has no G-d rather than one who has served a false god. (Shomati)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Va’yeilech” – Elimelech attempted to run away from difficulties. He and his family encountered even greater difficulties in Moav. Contrary to this attitude, King Dovid said “v’onoh miponecho evroch” (T’hilim 139:7). (Holy Alshich)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Va’yeilech ish” – We find these same words in Shmos 2:1. Just as there, Amrom took Yocheved and this set the stage for bringing the first redeemer of the bnei Yisroel into the world, so too here, Elimelech’s going to Moav would eventually bring about the final redeemer. (Baal Haturim)
The Rokei’ach says that the common denominator of “va’yeilech ish” found here and in Shmos 2:1, is that just as there, where it is discussing Amrom, and he was the leader of his generation (gemara Sotoh 12a), so too here, Elimelech was also the leader of his generation (gemara B.B. 91a)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Va’yeilech ish” – As a great Torah scholar, judge, and leader of his generation (gemara B.B. 91a), Elimelech, a very wealthy man, should have stayed in Eretz Yisroel to help out his impoverished brethren. However, he viewed himself not as a communal leader, but rather, only as a private citizen. This was because of “shfote hashoftim,” the people passed negative judgment upon their judges, equating them with common folk. This is why our verse says “va’yeilech ISH,” a private citizen. The following verse tells us that his calculation was self-defeated by his true view of himself. His name was Elimelech. The medrash says that this name is a combination of “eilai” and “melech,” – to me should be the kingship. As a descendant of the tribe of Yehudoh, he considered himself worthy of even being the king. A king surely is responsible for the welfare of his nation. Running away is inexcusable. (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Va’yeilech …… logur bisdei Moav” – Why did he choose Moav? Medrash Rus 1:4 relates that Elimelech was stingy and feared that because of the famine people would continuously come to him for sustenance, and this would wipe out his fortunes. What better place to go than to the nation that was famous for being stingy, as per the verse “Lo yovo Amoni uMoavi bikhal Hashem. Al dvar asher lo kidmu es’chem ba’lechem uvamayim” (Dvorim 23:4,5)? (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Hu v’ishto ushnei vonov” – We see that Elimelech was the prime mover to Moav, not his wife or sons. The verse first states that he went, interrupting with the destination, s’dei Moav, and only then adds on his wife and sons. (Nirreh li)
This is further alluded to in the following verse. The final letters of “V’sheiM ho’iSH ElimeleCH v’sheiM” spell “m’shochom,” he pulled them along. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v, 2: “Machlon v’Chilyon” – The gemara B.B. 91 cites a verse in D.H. 1:4, which says that their names were Yo’ash and Sorof. However, there is a disagreement if these were actually their names and Machlon and Kilyon are to be interpreted as words that teach us an insight into their lives, or the reverse.
Ch. 1, v, 2: “S’deI MoaV va’yi’h’yU shoM” – The final letters of these words spell YiBUM, a harbinger of what the future held for Rus. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 2: “Va’yi’h’yu shom” – The previous verse says “logur,” to sojourn, on a temporary basis. However, once they arrived, “va’yi’h’yu shom,” they became permanent residents. (Holy Alshich)
This point is starkly indicated by the use of the word SHOM, indicative of being far removed from the previous situation, as per the words of Haksav V’hakaboloh on “va’y’hi SHOM” (Breishis 39:20).
Ch. 1, v. 2: “Va’yi’h’yu shom” – The Targum says that they were “rafilu,” people of stature, leaders. Numerous times throughout the gemara we find that the verb word form H-Y-H is understood as having standing and permanence.
Ch. 1, v. 3: “Va’yomos Elimelech ish No’omi” – Had Elimelech cared for his people and sustained them through the famine, upon his death he would have died as the leader of the nation. Because he ran away and only concerned himself with the welfare of his family, Elimelech, “the husband of Naomi” only, died. (Y’dei Moshe)
Ch. 1, v. 3: “Vatisho’eir hee” – As mentioned earlier, Elimelech was the driving force in the family immigrating to the land of Moav. Now that he died, Naomi should have immediately returned. These words of our verse are a criticism of her remaining. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 3: “Vatisho’eir hee ushnei vo’nehoh” – The word form “shar” connotes a minority that is left over. However, here one member of the family died and three were left over. In verse 5 we again find “va’tisho’eir ho’ishoh,” because at that point only Naomi survived and her husband and two sons had already died. Why does our verse say “va’tisho’eir” since 3 out of the 4 family members were alive? The medrash says that Naomi was like “shio’rei minchoh.” Just as the minority of a “minchoh” offering is placed on the altar to be burned, and the vast majority is left for the consumption of the Kohanim, and yet, it is called “shio’rei minchoh,” so too were the survivors, Naomi and her sons “shirayim.” Qualitively, the head of the household died, just like the “kometz haminchoh” is the most important part of the total “minchoh,” and the remainder, although a quantitive majority, is but “shirayim.” (GR”A)
Ch. 1, v. 4: “Va’yisu” – This word can be broken into two, “v’yeish” and Alef-Vov. Alef and Vov are numerically 7. This alludes to there being, “v’yeish,” 7 blessings at the time they married. Orpoh and Rus converted before they were married. (Rokei’ach)
Although Medrash rus 2:9 says that they married as gentiles, Zohar Chodosh page 79a says that they converted before marrying. More on this later.
Ch. 1, v. 4: “Va’yisu lohem” – The seemingly superfluous word “lohem” indicates that they did this against the better wishes of their mother. (Yaave”tz)
“Lohem” indicates that they did not marry these women with proper intentions of building Torah families. Rather, they did this to fulfill their lusts, “lohem.” (I’geres Shmuel)
The marriages took place only after their father died. As low as he may have sunk, Elimelech would surely not have approved of their marrying Moabites. (Rokei’ach, Holy Alshich)
Did their wives convert to Judaism before they married? As mentioned earlier, Medrash Rus 2:9 says that they did not. Zohar Chodosh page 79a, Ibn Ezra, and Rokei’ach say that they did. From verse 8 through verse 15 Naomi attempts to dissuade her daughters-in-law from accompanying her back to Eretz Yisroel, but rather to remain in Moav and to return to the Moabite gods. If they had already converted this would not be allowed. Zohar Chodosh writes that although they converted, they did so under pressure from their husbands. This puts their conversion under duress in question. Their response to Naomi’s dissuasion would be the test of their previous sincerity.
Ch. 1, v. 4: “Moavios” – The Rokei’ach notes that this word is spelled without a letter Vov after the Mem. He says that this alludes to the restriction against the Moabite nation only applying to males. How the missing letter Vov indicates this requires elucidation. Perhaps his intention is that the word could now be read “M’avios,” translated as “women who had great desire.”
Ch. 1, v. 4: “Orpoh” – The letters of this name spell “ho’oref,” the nape. Orpoh turned the back of her neck on Naomi and returned to her nation and its gods. Alternatively, upon her leaving Naomi, she was violated from the back. (Medrash Rus 2:9). The letters of her name also spell Paroh, as the evil inclination is embodied in the name Paroh. (Toldos Yaakov Yoseif on parshas Bo) They also spell “peh ra.” Even though she kissed her mother-in-law good-bye (verse 14), she had a bad mouth. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 4: “Rus” – The numerical value of this name is 606. As a bas Noach she already had 7 mitzvos, and upon accepting Judaism she was responsible for an additional 606 mitzvos. (Rokei’ach, Rabbeinu Bachyei on parshas Va’yeiro)
The letters of the name Rus are the same as “tor,” a type of bird that is accepted as a sacrifice upon the altar. Just as a “tor” is accepted as a sacrifice, so too, Rus was accepted into “k’hal Yisroel,” to marry a born-Jewish man. We do not exclude Moabite women from being married to bnei Yisroel, “Moavi v’lo Moavis.” (Zohar Chodosh)
Was her name Rus at birth? The Holy Zohar writes that her name was originally Gilis, and only after converting was it changed to Rus.
Ch. 1, v. 4: “Orpoh …… Rus” – Following the simple order of the wording in the verses, since Machlon is mentioned before Kilyon in verse 2, and Orpoh is mentioned before Rus in our verse, it would seem that Machlon married Orpoh and Kilyon married Rus. This seems to be incorrect, as the verse in 4:10 clearly says “Rus haMoavioh eishes Machlon.” However, the Chid”o says that Machlon married Orpoh and Kilyon married Rus. Kilyon predeceased Machlon and Machlon did “yibum” with Rus, so she was his wife. As much as he accomplishes with keeping the order of verse 2 and 4, it seems that in verse 5 we are forced to be out of order. The verse says that Machlon and Kilyon died, even though according to the Chid”o Kilyon died first. Any help would be appreciated.
Ch. 1, v. 4: “Va’yeishvu shom k’esser shonim” – Elimelech, the prime mover to chutz lo’oretz, was punished after a short period of time in Moav, even though he wasn’t a permanent resident, as evidenced by “va’yi’h’yu shom.” His sons, whom he brought along, were only punished after “va’yeishvu shom,” they settled there, and only after ten years. (I’geres Shmuel)
Ch. 1, v. 4: “K’esser shonim” – We translate “k’esser” as approximately ten. A novel insight: The medrash says that Elimelech was so wealthy that he was able to support the nation for ten years of famine. Since he shirked his responsibilities, Hashem punished his family in kind. They lived among a foreign nation for ten years. Translate “k’esser” as “just like.” Just like the ten years that he could have supported his people, his family resided in Moav for ten years. (Ba”ch)
Ch. 1, v. 5: “Va’yomusu GAM shneihem” – Rashi (medrash) says that “gam” teaches us that before Elimelech died, Hashem first brought death to his livestock, and so too with his sons. If so, why at the time of Elimelech’s (verse 3) death doesn’t it say “va’yomos GAM Elimelech”? Perhaps Elimelech’s financial losses were not keenly felt by the survivors, as Machlon and Kilyon still had large flocks of livestock. Only after they also lost their wealth and they too died is this pointed out.
This would also explain why in then next verse it says that she survived her two sons and her husband. Why are her sons who died later mentioned ahead of her husband who died earlier? We can again say that the death of her husband was not felt as keenly as after the death of her sons. (Nirreh li)
GAM teaches us that they died in the main for leaving Eretz Yisroel, the same reason as their father’s death, and not because they married Moabite women. (I’geres Shmuel)
GAM teaches us that Naomi was pregnant and miscarried. (Medrash Rus 3:7) Why is this alluded to here, possibly close to ten years after it happened? Perhaps with the death of her two sons she more keenly felt the loss of the miscarriage. (Nirreh li)
Rashi writes that GAM teaches us that not only did they die but ALSO before their deaths their camels and cattle died. This means that Hashem first gave them a warning by making them lose their property.
An allusion to Rashi's words: GaM is an acronym for “G’ma’leihem Mikneihem.”
Ch. 1, v. 6: “Vatoshov” – Since all three women were on their way to Eretz Yisroel, why is this word in the singular? Naomi was the driving force. (Malbim)
Alternatively, only Naomi was RETURNING, while the other two were on their way there for the first time. This is somewhat indicated by the use of the word “vatoshov” rather than “vatoshovnoh.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 6: “Ki shomoh bisdei Moav” – From whom did she hear? The medrash says that she heard from merchants who came from Eretz Yisroel. Some interpret this to mean that she deduced this from the fact that they came with agricultural goods for sale. (If agricultural goods were being exported it was a sign that not only was the famine over, but that there was a reasonable amount of growth. The word form Shin-Mem-Nun sometimes means to understand or to know, as in “Shma Yisroel.”) Alternatively, the Holy Zohar writes that she heard from an angel.
Ch. 1, v. 6: “Fokad Hashem es” – The numerical value of these words is the same as Torah, 611. The final words of the verse follow through in this theme. “Lo’seis lo’hem lochem” can be interpreted as, “ to give them bread,” bread meaning Talmud, as per the gemara Chagigoh 14a. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 6: “Lo’seiS Lo’heM Lo’cheM” – These three consecutive words each begins with a Lamed. There are three teachings. They are alluded to in the final letters of these words, Talmud, Mishnoh, and Mikro. (Ro’kei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 7: “Va’teitzei min hamokome asher hoysoh shom” – Of course she left from the place that she found herself. This teaches us that Naomi’s leaving left a profound impression upon the community she left. Not only was Yaakov’s departure from B’eir Sheva felt by the community, as Yitzchok and Rivkoh, who surely appreciated his sanctity, were left behind and felt the void, but even in s’dei Moav the void was felt. (Medrash Rus)
Alternatively, as explained in verse2, the word form Y-H-Y can mean having standing, prominence. These words teach us that she left the place in which she WAS a somebody, to return to Eretz Yisroel, where she might well be relegated to being a destitute widow, to whom no one will pay special attention. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 7: “Va’teilachnoh va’derech” – The word “va’derech” seems superfluous.
1) This teaches us that they did not turn off the main road to stop in communities to rest or find food.
2) Alternatively, that they traveled even though it was Yom Tov, the first day of Pesach.
3) That they discussed the laws of conversion to Judaism on the way, as “derech” means Torah, “V’hodato lo’hem es ha’derech” (Shmos 18:20). “Va’teilachnoh” contains the word form “halacha.”
4) That they were so destitute that they wore no shoes and walked directly on the road. (Medrash Rus) “Va’teilachnoh” has the same numerical value as “v’y’cheifos,” barefoot. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 8: “Yaas(eh) Hashem imochem chesed” – The word “yaas” is spelled as if it were “yaa’seh.” “Yaas” is a prayer, a hope, while yaa’seh” is a blessing and statement of fact. Naomi both gave then a blessing and assured them that Hashem would treat them kindly. (Rokei’ach)
This was realized in Rus, but not in Orpoh, who turned her back on her mother-in-law and her religion.
Ch. 1, v. 8: “Kaasher asi’sem” – As will be explained in the following offering, their kindness to Noami was that they continued to sustain her even after their husbands died. This must have been very challenging, as the family wealth came to an end before Machlon and Kilyon died. Women were not wage earners in those days. Nevertheless, they extended themselves to generate some income and feed Noami. This is a male oriented activity, and it might explain why the verse says “asi’seM” rather than “asi’seN.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 8: “Im ha’meisim v’imodi” – Their kindness with their deceased husbands was that they acquired shrouds for their burial. Their kindness with me is that they were willing to forego their dowries. (Medrash Rus)
Alternatively, their kindness with the dead was simply that they were good devoted wives. (Rokei’ach)
Targum says that their kindness with the dead was that they had such respect for them that they did not remarry. Their kindness with me refers to sustaining Naomi. As we know, the gemara debates the issue of “moavi v’lo Moavis.” The Torah gives reasons for the Moavim being excluded from marrying a born Jew. “Al dvar asher lo kidmu es’chem ba’lechem uvamoyim vaasher sochar olecho es Bilom.” The gemara says that only males are included in the prohibition because it their nature to go outside, i.e. involve themselves in “out of the home” activities and they should have offered the bnei Yisroel food and drink. However, women, who are by nature modest, remain at home. The gemara then asks that the women could have at least offered food to the women, and it answers that the verse also says that they hired Bilom to curse the bnei Yisroel. This was an attempt to overpower them in war. Women are likewise not involved in actively participating in war.
The two kindnesses displayed by Rus and Orpoh, that of remaining faithful to their deceased husbands’ memories and continuing to sustain Rus, are both indicators of their being different from the Moavim. Their faithfulness to their husbands’ memories and not readily becoming someone else’s wife, falls into the realm of their modesty, contrary to the nature of Moavios, and their continuously sustaining their mother-in-law is contrary to “asher lo kidmu es’chem ba’lechem uvamoyim.” Although Noami was encouraging them to return to their previous life-style, she was alluding to them that their exemplary behaviour was becoming of a bas Yisroel and that they might consider following her. (Shomati)
Ch. 1, v. 9: “Yi’tein Hashem lochem” – The Ibn Ezra writes that the self-understood word “baal” is to be placed after “lochem.”
Ch. 1, v. 9: “LocheM” – Why is the male form used? (We find this numerous times throughout Megilas Rus, and each one deserves an explanation.) The letters of “lochem” spell “melech.” This was a blessing that they should merit to have the royal lineage come through them. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 9: “Um’tzeno(h)” – This word is missing the letter Hei at the end. This alludes to the fact that even Rus, who would wed, would have a short-lived marriage with her husband, as he died the same night. (Rokei’ach)
Alternatively, this alludes to the fact that only one of them would find a husband and fulfillment. (Medrash Rus)
We likewise find the letter Vov missing from both “shovnoh” and “v’nosai” in verse 11 and 12, the Hei at the end of “leichno(h)” in verse 12, and “vati’seno(h)” in verse 14. All of these allude to the fact that only one of the two, Rus, would find fulfillment, and that only Rus cried to an extreme at the thought of forsaking Naomi. (Holy Alshich)
Perhaps we can add that the missing letters Alef-Vov-Hei mentioned by the medrash and the Holy Alshich allude to Rus’s joining the Jewish nation and being the matriarch of Moshiach. Our sages tell us that Hashem’s Holy Name and His royal throne will not be complete until Moshiach comes. This is why the verse says “ki yod al keis Koh” (Shmos 17:16). Had Hashem’s Holy Name and His royal throne been complete, the verse would have said “ki yod al ki’sEi YKVK.” The missing letters are Alef-Vov-Hei. This is alluded to in the verse “ivoh l’moshav lo” (T’hilim 132:13). “IVoH” is spelled Alef-Vov-Hei. Hashem lusts to have the Alef added to His “moshav,” His royal throne, and Vov-Hei to “lo,” to His Holy Name. Similarly these three letters are left out in these verses, as Naomi alluded to Moshiach’s still being far off. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 10: “Ki itoch noshuv” – The GR”A and others differentiate between “im” and “es.” Although both mean “with,” “im” connotes a total joining in a united goal, while “es” is limited, only being physically together. For example if you are on an airplane with a group of people all going to the same wedding, you are “imom.” If you happen to only be with them on the same flight, with each person going to a different final destination and each for his own personal reason, then you are only “itom.”
We can thus say that since both Rus and Orpoh spoke, and were in agreement to go along with Naomi, the term “itoch” is used, as Orpoh, even at this point in time was not strongly emotionally attached to Naomi. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 10: “Noshuv l’a’meich” – Even Orpoh agreed to go with Naomi to Eretz Yisroel at this moment. This would entail accepting her beliefs, etc. Indeed, this will take place in the days of Moshiach, when all the nations of the world will recognize and pay homage to Hashem. “Noshuv” has the same numerical value as Moshiach. “L’a’meich” contains the letters of “melech” and a letter Ayin, alluding to the 70 nations of the world accepting the authority of Hashem. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 11: “Ha’ode li vonim b’mei’ai” – The M.R. says that Rus told them that “yibum” by a brother of the deceased who was born after his death is prohibited. We surely don’t have a case of “yibum” even if another son were to be born to Naomi because Elimelech had died and she would bear a child through another man. There is no “yibum” when the brothers are only maternally related. If so, what was Naomi’s intention?
The reason the Torah does not allow for such a “yibum” is because the waiting period for the widow would be very long (see Tosfos on the gemara Y’vomos 17b) and the “Torah’s paths are pleasant.” This was Naomi’s intention as well. She simply meant that they should not wait a long period before remarrying. (Torah T’mimoh)
Ch. 1, v. 12: “Shovnoh v’nosai leichno” – This is the third time that Naomi said “shovnoh” (see verses 8 and 11). The M.R. says that this alludes to the rule that when one comes to convert we push him off three times (see gemara Y’vomos 47b).
An explanation is due for the following differences when this word is used: In verse 8 we find “leichnoh shovnoh.” In verse 11 only “shovnoh.” In our verse “shovnoh …… leichno.” The order is reversed, and in the middle verse only one term is used. Any help would be appreciated.
As well, in verse 8 “leichnoH” has a Hei, and in our verse there is no Hei. However, this is explained by the Rokei'ach. “Leichno” without a Hei has the value of 100, to allude to the statement of Medrash Rus 2:20, that after Orpoh left Naomi she was violated by 100 men.
Here we again have the problem of verse 9, that the gender does not match with the pronoun suffix, just reversed. Since Naomi was referring to giving birth to boys the verse should have said “halo’heM.” This alludes to the possibility that even if she were to marry immediately and conceive, she might give birth to girls.
Alternatively, “halo’hein” has the numerical value of 90, the age of Soroh when she finally gave birth. Naomi’s message was, “Would you wait for me to give birth at an exceedingly old age, as my Matriarch Soroh did?” (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 12: “V’nosai Leichno Ki” – The first letters of these three words form KeLeV, a dog. These words further allude to added humiliation. Besides the 100 men who violated her, Medrash Rus says that a dog also did. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 1, v. 13: “Al b’nosai” – Don’t do what? Don’t come along with me. (Ibn Ezra)
Ch. 1, v. 13: “Ki mar li m’ode mi’kem” –
1) It is very bitter for me because of you. Your being married to my sons was the cause of their death. (Ba”ch)
2) Alternatively, the situation is more bitter for me than it is for you. (A’keidas Yitzchok)
3) Your lot is more bitter to me than my own. (GR”A)
4) It is very bitter for me because of the loss of my two sons. “Mi’KeM,” from Chof-Mem, the first letters of Kilyon and Machlon. (Nirreh li)
5) I feel very bitter because of “mi’kem,” whose numerical value is 100. Naomi prophetically alluded to the 100 men who would violate Orpoh. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 14: “V’Rus dovkoh boh” – The numerical value of “V’Rus” is 612, the same as “bris.” Rus committed herself to the covenant of the Torah, alluded to in the word “boh,” spelled Beis-Hei. Rus cleaved to the 5 books of the Torah, “b’Hei.” (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 14: “V’Rus dovkoh boh” – Rus’s courageous act of cleaving to Naomi is a rectification of the heinous misdeed of her ancestor Lote. Avrohom felt he could no longer live with Lote, as Lote’s camel leaders allowed his camels to graze in others’ fields, which Avrohom considered theft. Avrohom offered Lote the opportunity to choose a location in which to live and Avrohom would relocate himself somewhere else. What Lote should have done was to beg Avrohom to reconsider, and to commit himself to make sure that his camel leaders would no longer allow his camels to graze in others’ fields. Hopefully Avrohom would then allow for Lote to live alongside him. However, he did no such thing. He left “kadmono shel olom” (see Rashi there), which the Gerrer Rebbe interprets to mean that he forsook Avrohom, the first person in the world who taught Monotheism to the masses. Rus, by clinging to Naomi, somewhat rectified this. (Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe)
Ch. 1, v. 15: “El amoh v’el elohehoh” – Naomi did not literally see that Orpoh returned to her false gods. She assumed that upon returning to the Moabite nation she would surely return to their deities. According to the opinion that the two women had converted to Judaism before marrying, how could Naomi encourage them to return to their nation and its gods? Their original intention was under question as they only converted after being pressured by Machlon and Kilyon. Alternatively, they converted because they perceived a rosy future in being married to people of great stature, wealth, and royalty.
Ch. 1, v. 15: “Shuvi acha’rei y’vimteich” – Rashi near the beginning of parshas R’ei says that “achar” means after but close by, while “acharei” means at a distance. Medrash Rus 2:20 says that after Orpoh forsook her mother-in-law she was violated by 100 men and one dog. This is why Naomi said “acha’rei.” If you follow my advice and return to Moav, as did Orpoh, but go “acha’rei,” at a distance, so that you do not suffer the same degrading fate as she will. (Ben Ish Chai)
Ch. 1, v. 16: “Al tifg’i vi” – Do not attempt to kill me, as in “va’yifga bo va’yomose” (M’lochim 1:2). Rus so strongly wanted to cling to the Jewish nation, that forsaking it was equal to death. Alternatively, since she had earlier converted, if she would return to Moab and obviously fall into the morass of sin, it is as if Naomi with her powerful dissuasion caused Rus to sin. Causing one to sin is worse than killing him.
Ch. 1, v. 16: “Al tifg’i bi” – Don’t dissuade me. I am committed to accepting all 613 mitzvos. “Al tifg’i bi” has the numerical value of 613. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 1, v. 16: “El asher teilchi eileich uvaasher tolini olin” – Going refers to action, while sleeping refers to inaction. I will commit myself to both the positive and restrictive mitzvos. (GR”A)
Ch. 1, v. 16: “El asher teilchi eileich uvaasher tolini olin” – In the merit of committing herself to walk in the footsteps of Naomi, Rus merited to have King Shlomo as her descendant, who instituted “eiruvei t’chumim,” a halachic institution connected to distances a person may walk on Shabbos (Yom Tov). In the merit of her committing herself to sleep in the same manner as Naomi, she merited to have King Dovid as her descendant, who instituted the prohibition of going into seclusion with an unmarried woman, “yichud im p’nuyoh.”
Ch. 1, v. 16: “Uvaasher tolini olin” – We do not live in a home that does not have mezuzos on its doorposts. (Medrash Rus)
Alternatively, the medrash offers that Naomi taught Rus that it is prohibited to go into seclusion with a man other than her husband. This is most interesting, as later we find that Naomi advised Rus to go to Boaz under cover of night and lie herself down by his feet. Perhaps we can differentiate between secluding oneself with a married woman to doing this with a single woman, a ruling that only came about later by Rabbinic rule.
Ch. 1, v. 16: “A’meich” – Your nation is only a unique nation by virtue of their commitment to fulfilling the 613 mitzvos. The numerical value of “a’meich” is 610. The Ayin and Mem equal 110, and the final Chof equals 500. We then add the three letters of this word itself, and we have a total of 613. (The Holy Admor of Satmar)
Ch. 1, v. 17: “Eko’veir ko” – The final two letters of “ekoVeiR” and the Word “ko” spell “brochoh,” a blessing. Rus told Naomi that if she would merit to be buried alongside righteous people, “basher tomusi omus,” then she would have the blessing of rising at the time of “t’chiyas ha’meisim.” (Rokei'ach)
Alternatively, we have the letter Kuf of “eKo’veir” and “ko.” This alludes to Rus accepting upon herself to recite 100 daily blessings. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 17: “Ko yaa’seh Hashem li v’cho yosif – Although the bnei Yisroel willingly accepted the written Torah with their “naa’seh v’nishmo” proclamation, their acceptance of the “oral Torah” was coerced, “Kofoh a’leihem har k’gigis” (gemara Shabbos 88a as per Medrash Tanchuma parshas Noach). Rus accepted upon herself the written Torah with “ko yaa’seh Hashem li,” and the addition laws of Torah sheb’al peh” with “v’cho yosif.” (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 1, v. 17: “Ko yaa’seh Hashem li v’cho yosif ki hamo’ves yafrid beini u’veineich” – Naomi attempted to dissuade her daughters-in-law from joining her and committing themselves to keep the mitzvos of the Torah. Rus responded that she could not be dissuaded, because if she were to not accept the yoke of Torah, upon her death there would be a chasm between her and Nami. Naomi would be in Gan Eden and she would end up in Gehinom. (Rabbi Yoseif Tataz, a contemporary of the Beis Yoseif)
Ch. 1, v. 17: “Ki hamo’ves yafrid beini u’veineich” – If Rus would not cleave to the Jewish nation she would return to her sins and upon dying she would end up in the abyss together with all other Moabites. Now that she would cling to the Jewish nation, upon her death there would be separation. Each righteous person has his own area and canopy. (Shalo”h)
Ch. 1, v. 17: “Ki hamo’ves yafrid beini u’veineich” – Why doesn’t the verse say “yafrid beineinu”? Death does not separate two people. Although the deceased leaves the remaining living person, later on, when the survivor dies, he joins the deceased. Death only separates one person. (Dubner Magid)
Ch. 1, v. 18: “Ki misa’metzes hee lo’leches” – Naomi stopped attempting to dissuade Rus only after she saw that Rus walked with great effort. At that point Naomi realized that Rus was totally committed to joining the Jewish nation. This is because commitment to Torah weakens a person physically, as we find when Reish Lokish committed himself to learn Torah (gemara B.M. 84a). (Chid”o)
Ch. 1, v. 19: “ShteiheM” – Once again we have a grammatical problem with the gender of this word. This teaches us that they walked to Beis Lechem with great strength and alacrity, as a man would. (Rokei’ach)
Not only do we have a gender problem with this word, but it seems that the word itself is self-contradictory. If it would be male it should be “shNeihem,” and since it is female, why isn’t it “shteiheN?” The explanation of the Rokei’ach alleviates this issue as well. It is interesting to note that the Ibn Ezra points out that we have two words in Tanach that are “androgens,” meaning that both male and female forms are found in the same word. They are “va’yeichamnoh” and “va’yosharnoh.” He explains them both. Why doesn’t he add this word as well? Possibly, he was only listing words that are verbs.
Ch. 1, v. 19: “Ad bo’onoh Beis Lochem” – They continuously walked and did not rest on the way even for a moment. (Holy Alshich)
Ch. 1, v. 20: “Moro” – This word is spelled with an Alef. This is an Aramaic word, meaning shovel (gemara Taanis 21b). I am a person who has buried her husband and two sons. (Rokei’ach)
Alternatively, it means “abomination,” sourced from “v’heisir es muroso” (Vayikra 1:16). (Tosfos Hasho’leim)
Alternatively, “I left Eretz Yisroel as part of a group of five, Elimelech, myself, Machlon, Kilyon, and I was pregnant. Now I come back a lonely single person.” Therefore “moroh, normally spelled with a Hei, whose numerical value is five, has been changed to an Alef, whose numerical value is one. (Rokei’ach)
Rabbeinu Bachyei on Bmidbar 12:2 writes on the word “zoro” (Bmidbar 11:20), which is normally spelled with a Hei but is spelled there with an Alef, that it connotes extreme disgust, while with a Hei it means average disgust. He likewise cites the word “moro” of our verse with an Alef rather than the common Hei and explains that Naomi meant that she should be called “very bitter.”
Ch. 1, v. 20: “Moro” – This word is spelled with an Alef. The GR”A in his commentary on Yeshayohu writes that Hashem uses three mediums to send punishment upon the world. They are water, wind, and fire. He thus explains that when Hashem said that He was sending “all My plagues” (Shmos 9:14) in the form of hail, it is because the plague encompassed these three aspects, water as the ice component, wind that brought the hail, and fire within the balls of hail.
Perhaps this is why “moro” is written here with an Alef. This is because Noami alluded to the three components of punishment that Hashem sends on mankind, in the form of Mayim - Mem, Ruach - Reish, and Aish - Alef. She felt that she had undergone “all My plagues.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 21: “M’lei’oh holachti” – Medrash Rus derives from these words that Naomi left Eretz Yisroel pregnant, but miscarried.
Ch. 1, v. 22: “Bis’chilas k’tzir s’orim” – The salvation for Rus began with the timing of the “omer” offering, and this in turn will bring to the birth of our final redeemer, Melech haMoshiach. Similarly, the salvation of the bnei Yisroel in the days of Mordechai likewise began with studying the laws of “omer,” as per the gemara Megiloh, with Homon admitting that the study of the fistful of “omer” meal would overpower his 10,000 kikar bribe. Similarly, in the days of Gidone the salvation was symbolized by a vision of barley meal. (Ba”ch)
Rabbi Ben Zion Feldman shlit”a adds that Lote, a forerunner of the Rus odyssey, likewise was saved by the angels on the second day of Pesach according to some commentators, the day of the future bringing of the “omer” offering.
Ch. 1, v. 22: “Bis’chilas k’tzir s’orim” – Even though they knew that when they would enter Eretz Yisroel only barley, animal food, would be ripening, nevertheless, they went there with great alacrity. (Ba”ch)
Ch. 1, v. 22: “Bis’chilas k’tzir s’orim” – Some say that because this took place at the beginning of the harvest of barley, a little while before Shovuos, we read this Megiloh on Shovuos.
Ch. 2, v. 1: “Ushmo Boaz” – Boaz is Ivtzon, the leading judge of his generation (gemara B.B. 91a).
Rashi on Divrei Ha’yomim 1:2:11 d.h. “Ivtzon,” a word that does not even appear in that verse, says that this name is a composite of “av” and “tz’nunim.” This means that he was the father of all frigid people, i.e. he teaches all who are caught up in the heat of an urge of lust to calm down and remain cold, as demonstrated by his restraining himself when he was alone with Rus.
Alternatively, the name Ivtzon is a composite of “av” and “tzone,” the father (leader) of sheep (the nation). (Shomati)
Ch. 2, v. 1: “Boaz” – This word can be broken into two, “bo” and “oz,” – in him there is strength. What is the strength? This is also alluded to in his name, whose letters can be switched to read “OZaV,” he forsook his evil inclination. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 2, v. 1: “Boaz” – Boaz and Rus are the main characters of this Megiloh. Rus’s becoming Jewish is a sort of extracting the “nitzotzos hakdoshos,” holy sparks, out of the nation of Moav. This is alluded to in the beginning of parshas Bolok. In 22:3 the verse says, “Va’yogor Mo’ov mipnei ho’om m’ode ki RaV hu,” - and Moav greatly feared the nation because it was RaV.” The letters Reish and Beis refer to Rus and Boaz. Moav sensed that it had no spirituality in itself to be protected from the bnei Yisroel. The only exception would be Rus, who would be married to Boaz. They had no merit at this moment. (Shomati)
Ch. 2, v. 2: “Vatomer Rus” – Note that Naomi did not initiate this conversation. Out of respect for her daughter-in-law, the daughter of a king, she did not want to suggest that Rus collect leftovers in the field, a public arena. On the other hand, Rus suggested that she go, to avoid having Naomi go for herself. This would be most embarrassing. Naomi was known by all in the community, and it would be even more shameful as she was once the wealthy madam of Beis Lechem. (Malbim)
Ch. 2, v. 3: “Va’teilech vatovo vatla’keit” – These words seem out of order, as she surely did not return home before she collected from the field.
1) “Vatovo” means “and she arrived.” (Baal Ho’Akeidoh)
2) She went back and forth until she found respectable people with whom she would walk to the field. (gemara Shabbos 113b).
3) She prepared for her return trip as she went towards the field. She made signs on the way that she would notice on the way back. (Medrash Rus)
Perhaps there is an allusion to her making signs in the word “vatovo.” Its letters also form the word “u’v’ose,” and with a sign. (Nirreh li)
On a simple level we can say that by making marks she was assured that even if she would not find someone to give her directions she would not get lost on her return trip. (Rashi)
Alternatively, she did this to avoid having to talk to men on the way back, as she would otherwise be forced to ask for directions. (Rabbi Sholo’m Goldstein z”l)
4) Rather than beginning to collect from the field the moment she got there, she walked to the end of the field that was farthest from her home and only then began collecting. She came closer to her home as she collected. She thus gained that she had a shorter distance to carry a load of grain. (GR”A)
5) As will be explained in verse 5, she first collected two grains at a time and left over three grains that had fallen in one place. Only after she collected all the 2’s and reached the far end of the field, did she begin collecting the 3’s. She thus was on her return trip while she was still collecting. (Nirreh li)
6) The verse is telling us her daily activities. Every day she would leave and return for the purpose of collecting. (Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz)
7) Her returning is mentioned immediately after her going to tell us that Boaz’s field was quite close to her home. (Malbim)
8) She wandered from place to place, passing up numerous other fields. This was Divine providence, so that she should come upon the field belonging to Boaz. (Rokei’ach)
9) Rus was a reincarnation of Lote’s daughter who bore him Moav. “Va’teilech,” she left this world, then “vatovo” she came back as Rus, “latla’keit” and she collected her reward for her righteous deeds, that Melech haMoshiach would be her descendent. (Holy Alshich)
Ch. 2, v. 4: “Hashem imochem” – Boaz instituted including Hashem’s Name in a blessing of one’s fellow man. Why did he find this necessary? The medrash says that people were very lax about theft, as is demonstrated by Boaz’s sleeping in the threshing area out in the fields. He felt that by training people to constantly ention Hashem’s Name there would be a greater awareness of Hashem’s constant presence, and this would be a deterrent against theft. (Malbim)
Ch. 2, v. 4: “Hashem imochem va’yomru lo y’vo’rech’cho Hashem” – The medrash says that Boaz instituted incorporating Hashem’s Name when blessing his fellow man. Note that Boaz said Hashem’s name first, while the harvesters first said the blessing, and only then Hashem’s Name. This is because the gemara says that when one sanctifies an animal he should say, “chatos laShem,” and not “laShem chatos.” We fear that he might die immediately after he utters Hashem’s Holy Name and will not complete his sentence and will have uttered Hashem’s Name in vain. However, the gemara says that one who is first to bless his friend is granted long life. Boaz, who was the initiator of the blessing, was therefore able to mention Hashem’s Name ahead of the blessing, while the harvesters had to first say the blessing. This also explains why the first to greet says “Sholo’m a’leichem,” and the second person reciprocates with “a’leichem Sholo’m.”
Ch. 2, v. 4: “Hashem imochem va’yomru lo y’vo’rech’cho Hashem” – The stress is upon “imochem,” that Hashem, the Holy Name connoting mercy, is specifically with them, but not with Boaz, as his wife had just died. They responded that although he just suffered a great loss, nevertheless, they wished him that Hashem with His attribute of mercy, would now pour His blessings upon Boaz.
Ch. 2, v. 5: “L’mi hanaaroh hazose” – Rashi asks, “Is it befitting for Boaz to ask about women?” He answers that Boaz asked because he saw wisdom and modesty. She would only collect groups of two grains that fell and not three, as is dictated by halacha. He saw modesty, as she did not stoop over to collect, but rather, did it sitting. How does this answer the question? Just because he saw things that piqued his interest, why should he ask about her? Perhaps it is because his wife had recently died and he was open to finding a wife. Seeing these wonderful character traits, he asked.
Ch. 2, v. 5: “L’mi” – The Ibn Ezra explains “l’mi” to mean “to which nation does she belong.”
Ch. 2, v. 5: “L’mi hanaaroh hazose” – Rashi says that Boaz saw that Rus had wisdom when he saw her only collecting two fallen grains and not three. Why is this considered wisdom? Basic halacha dictates that the poor only take two and not three.
The parameters of collecting “leket” are to be found in the mishnoh Pei’oh 6:5 and in the accompanying gemara Yerushalmi. It is conclusive that both Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel agree that a person who is poor, a widow/er, and a convert may collect even three grains, while a person who does not have all three of these situations may only collect two. Rus’s wisdom was that she FIRST collected two’s and not three’s, because she surely had competition for two’s. She thus maximized her opportunity to gather as many two’s as possible. It was quite remote that there would be anyone else who was allowed to collect three’s so she waited until she completed collecting as many two’s as she could find and then went through the field a second time collecting three’s. (Chidushei haRi”m)
Ch. 2, v. 6: “Va’yaan hanaar” – Everything he said was to belittle Rus. First, that she is a “naaroh,” a maiden, too young for you to take interest in her. Secondly, she is still a Moabite in her heart, even though she converted. He also posited that a Moabite convert may not be married to a ben Yisroel. Thirdly, she only knows the laws of collecting from the field from Naomi who gave her a crash course but otherwise she has very limited knowledge of our religion. (I’geres Shmuel)
Pri Chaim and others explain the verse differently and says that the youth praised her.
Ch. 2, v. 6: “HaSHovoh iM NaOmi” – The second letters of these three words spell “SHMA.” Rus has already accepted Hashem of Yisroel. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 2, v. 7: “Alaktoh noh v’osafti vo’omorim” – Although any poor person was allowed to enter the field to collect, Rus even offered to pay for the privilege of collecting. Since she had no money she said that she would pay by helping the harvesters collect their bundles. (I’geres Shmuel)
Ch. 2, v. 7: “Vataamode mei’oz haboker” – Rus had collected quite a large amount of “leket.” Medrash Rus on 2:3 tells us that Rus was extremely beautiful. The youth therefore told Boaz that he did not allow her to take large amounts that were bundled or the like because he wanted to find favour in her eyes. Rather, she worked non-stop since early in the morning and she just paused now for a short rest. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 8: “Halo shomaat biti al teilchi lilkote b’so’deh acheir” – We cannot explain these words to mean, “Haven’t you heard my daughter, ‘Don’t go to collect in another field,’” because no one had said this previously. Rather, this means, “No doubt, my daughter, you have heard my conversation with the youth. Since I asked about you, you might incorrectly assume that I am unhappy that you have come to my field to collect. However, this is not correct. To the contrary, I ask you to return to my field and not go to another’s field.” (I’geres Shmuel)
Note that this explanation translates “b’so’deh acheir” as “in another’s field.” The verse does not say “bisdei acheir,” which means another’s field, but rather “b’so’deh acheir,” which is simply translated as, “in another field.” Perhaps the I’geres Shmuel is using license of reading the letters with different “nikud” in a manner of “drush.”
Sticking to the literal meaning of these words we might say that Boaz was telling Rus not only to not go to someone else’s field to collect, but to not even go to another one of his fields to collect, as the workers of this field have been told to treat her preferentially.
Ch. 2, v. 8: “Biti” – Albeit that Boaz was many years the senior of Rus, but why would he call her his daughter? Perhaps this word came out of his mouth through Heavenly inspiration to allude to the rectification that would later take place through his and her restraining themselves when he found Rus lying at his feet in the threshing area. As will be explained there, Rus, a descendant of Lote’s older daughter, who gave birth to Moav, assuaged the improper behaviour of her ancestor. Since that act took place with Lote’s daughter, Boaz prophetically expressed himself with “my daughter.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 8: “V’gam lo saavuri mi’zeh” – A most novel translation by the Rokei'ach: Do not pursue grain outside of this field. “Saavuri” is sourced from the word “ibur,” meaning grain.
Is this not already included in the previous words, “Al teilchi lilkote b’so’deh acheir”? Possibly, “lilkote” is limited to “leket,” while “saavuri” includes collection of “shikchoh” and “pei’oh.”
Ch. 2, v. 9: “V’holacht acha’reiheN” – Boaz told Rus that he specially hired women harvesters so that she would not have to mingle with male harvesters. (Malbim) The word “yiktzorun” seems problematic.
Ch. 2, v. 10: “V’onochi nochrioh” – If Rus had already converted, why did she say that she was an outsider? She meant to say that she was not permitted to be married to a ben Yisroel. She was not yet apprised of the ruling “Moavi v’lo Moavis.” (Targum)
Ch. 2, v. 11: “Hu’geid hugad li” – Two things were told to me. One is that a Moabite woman is permitted to be married to a ben Yisroel, and this information came to me from a Torah scholar. The second point, which I received through prophecy, is that you will have descendants who will be kings and prophets in the merit of your selfless devotion to your mother-in-law and your forsaking the idol worship of your parents. (Targum)
Ch. 2, v. 12: “Y’sha’leim” – The hidden letters of the letters of this word, i.e. Vov-Dalet of Yud, spelled Yud-Vov-Dalet, etc., have the numerical value of “olom habo.” (Rokei’ach)
Perhaps we can expand upon this. The Lev Aryeh on gemara Chulin says that the statement of the gemara Kidushin 39b, “s’char mitzvoh b’hai alma leka,” – reward for mitzvos is not paid in this world – only applies to fulfillment of positive mitzvos, but restraining oneself from transgressing negative precepts does have a reward on this world. He explains that the Torah clearly delineates punishment for many negative precepts that are meted out in this world. It is therefore only fair that reward for refraining from sinning also be paid here. It is only positive mitzvos, where the Torah does not spell out punishment for not fulfilling them, that correspondingly have is no reward in this world.
If so, we can understand why “Y’sha’leim Hashem po’o’leich” refers to reward in the world to come. The verse continues, “u’s’hi maskurteich shleimoh.” How does “po’o’leich” differ from “maskurteich”? “Po’o’leich” means “your action,” the fulfillment of positive mitzvos. If so, “maskurteich” leaves us with reward for not transgressing negative mitzvos. Payment for fulfillment of positive mitzvos takes place in the world to come. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 12: “Y’sha’leim Hashem po’o’leich” – The numerical value of these words is the same as Rus, 606, the number of mitzvos that are increased to one who converts to Judaism, over the 7 mitzvos that every person has. (Rokei’ach)
I’geres Shmuel says that we can either interpret these words as a blessing or as an assurance that it will be so.
Ch. 2, v. 12: “U’s’hi maskurteich shleimoh” – The Malbim differentiates between reward for “po’oleich” and “maskurteich.” A “po’eil” is paid for his work. For example, if one is hired to dig a well he is paid only if he digs the well. A “sochir” is one who is hired for an amount of time, for example a month. He is hired to work, but his payment is not directly commensurate with his work. If he works a bit more or a bit less, he will still receive the pay stipulated at the beginning, and rightly so, as he was continuously available during the month to work. Boaz was thus telling Rus that now that she has converted, Hashem will pay her for every mitzvoh that she has done, “p’uloh,” and will also reward her for her ongoing commitment to be a bas Yisroel and bound by the Torah, “s’chirus.”
Ch. 2, v. 12: “U’s’hi maskurteich shleimoh” – The word “shleimoh,” spelled without a Yud, can also be read Shlomo. Your reward will be your descendant King Shlomo. (Yalkut Shimoni)
Indeed, Rus lived so long that she actually merited to see Shlomo as king with her own eyes, as related in the gemara B.B. 91b, based on the verse in M’lochim 1:2, “va’yosem ki’sei l’eim ha’melech.”
Ch. 2, v. 12: “U’s’hi maskurteich shleimoh” – We find “us’hi” in two other places, “us’hi acharisi komohu” (Bmidbar 23), and “us’hi zose nechemosi” (Iyov 6). Boaz’s blessing was that Rus should merit the reward of the days of Moshiach, as per the verse in Bmidbar, and the reward of “olom habo,” as per the verse in Iyov. (Rokei'ach)
Another allusion to her reward in “olom habo” is the value of the first letters of, “Y’sha’leim Hashem Po’o’leich Us’hi Maskurteich” being the same as “olom.” (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 2, v. 12: “Asher bos lachasos” – We find the same word “lachasos” in T’hilim 118:8, “tov lachasos.” Perhaps we can connect these two verses. Boaz told Rus that she has come to find respite under Hashem’s wings. Included in this is that she would hopefully find a husband and have offspring. Boaz later told Rus that his relative TOV was earlier in line for the privilege of redeeming Machlone’s property and marrying her. This is “TOV lachasos.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 12: “Asher bos lachasos” – One of the most enigmatic midrashim is found on these words: “Omar Rebbi Chasa, ‘Asher bos lachasos.’” All Rabbi Chasa seems to be doing is finishing off the verse, not adding any explanation or clarification. Many insights are offered, and here is one that will likely be new to you. We know that at the end of our “amidoh” we say a verse or verses that allude to our name by virtue of the verse beginning and ending with the same letters as the beginning and ending of our names. Another option is to recite a verse that does not begin and end with the same letters, but contains our name, either exactly, or in a quite similar form. The medrash is thus telling us that Rabbi Chasa said the verse containing “Asher bos laCHASOS,” as this word is of the same source as his name. (Shomati)
Ch. 2, v. 13: “EmtzO cheiN b’eineCHo adonI” – Rus alluded to her finding favour in his eyes by virtue of her truly accepting Hashem. The final letters of these four words spell “ONoCHI,” the first word in the Ten Commandments. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 2, v. 13: “Ki nichamtoni” – Targum says that Rus was comforted by Boaz through his ruling that a Moabite woman who converted may be married to a ben Yisroel.
Ch. 2, v. 13: “V’onochi lo e’h’yeh k’achas shifchosecho” – We commonly translate this as “And I don’t deserve to even be one of your maidservants.” The GR”A translates this as “And I will not become one of your maidservants.” Rather, I realize that I am destined to become your wife.
Ch. 2, v. 13: “V’onochi lo e’h’yeh k’achas shifchosecho” – And I will not be capable of ascending to the level of one of your maidservants (note “e’h’yeh” in the future tense). One of your maidservants could possibly be given her emancipation and them become the wife of a ben Yisroel. I cannot be the wife of a ben Yisroel, as I come from the Moabite nation. This insight seems to not be in consonance with the Targum cited in verse 11.
Ch. 2, v. 14: “Va’yomer loh Voaz” – This is one of three times in Tanach that the word “loh,” meaning “to her” is spelled without the regular “mapik Hei,” possessive suffix Hei, which is pronounced a bit more guttural than a regular “kometz Hei,” which means “to her.” Medrash Rus 5:5 says that because the Hei lacks the “mapik” mark it is to also be understood as NO. Boaz’s response to her saying that she is not deserving to even be one of his maidservants was NO. Not only is she worthy, but she is much more worthy than a maidservant. She deserves to be on the level of our Matriarchs. The medrash goes on to explain the other two instances of Hei without a “mapik” in the same manner, that there is a secondary NO connotation. It is therefore quite puzzling that Rashi on Bmidbar 32:42 d.h. “Vayikra loh” is not satisfied with Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan’s explanation of “loh” in that verse meaning NO because there is no similar explanation of this in our verse or in a verse in Zecharioh where it also appears.
As just mentioned, Medrash Rus says that Rus deserved to be as one of the Matriarchs, not “shfochos,” but rather, “imohose.” “Lo e’h’yeh k’achas” has the same numerical value as “k’imohose” (i”h). (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 14: “Goshi halome” – The gemara Shabbos 113b says that Boaz alluded to her that she would become the matriarch of the house of Dovid and all subsequent kings. We find the term “halome” when Dovid said “ki heviasni ad halome” (Shmuel 2:7). The possibility of Dovid being king is predicated on the ruling “Moavi v’lo Moavis,” the restriction of a Moabite convert to marry a born Jew applies to their males only. The gemara brings proofs pro and con and gives no conclusive logical proof. It is only because there was a tradition handed down from Moshe and taught by the prophet Shmuel that only Moabite men are included in the restriction that Rus was permitted to become Boaz’s wife. Thus Boaz alluded to her that she was permitted to be married to him because of “HaLoMe,” whose letters are an acronym for Halacha L’Moshe MiSinai. (Shomati)
Ch. 2, v. 14: “Bachometz” – The gemara Shabbos 113b says that Boaz alluded to Rus that she would have a descendant who would be bitter like vinegar, King Menasheh. Since there were unfortunately numerous kings who turned away from the proper path, why is specifically Menasheh hinted to here? The allusion to vinegar is that just as vinegar becomes sharper and sharper as it ages, so too the king who is alluded to is one who would become worse and worse over an extended period of time, accurately describing Menasheh.
Sifsei Tzadik says that Boaz wanted to comfort Rus. Just as sharp and bitter vinegar on its own is inedible, but is useful when bread is dipped into it and it is consumed, as it cools off a person who is very hot, so too, in the end Menasheh will repent.
Ch. 2, v. 14: “Va’teishev” – This word has the same letters as “BoSHeS.” In her humility she sat to the side, even though Boaz showed her great favour. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 2, v. 14,15: “Vatosar, Vatokom” – “Vatosar” can be broken into Vov and Tof-Tof-Reish. Six times Tof-Tof-Reish equals 6,000. After the world exists for 6,000 years there will be “Vatokom,” the righteous will rise from the dead. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 2, v. 15: “Vatokom l’la’keit” – Even though there was a lengthy break since Rus last collected from the field, and in the interim she was showered with great attention and care by Boaz, after the conversation and meal ended she returned to the task at hand, collecting grain from the field, with great alacrity. (Holy Alshich)
Ch. 2, v. 16: “Shole tosholu” – Rashi says that this either translates as “make yourself forget,” or “intentionally drop.” In any case, the idea is that Boaz told his harvesters to make grain readily available for Rus to collect. It seems that this is further alluded to in the word, “min” which can also be read “mon.” Manna was readily available for collection, as related in parshas B’shalach. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 16: “Shole tosholu” – Rashi offers two translations. A third translation is to allow her to gather the spoils, and these words are sourced from “sholol.” (Shomati)
Ch. 2, v. 16: “Hatzvosim” – Rashi says that these are small bundles of grain, small “amorim.” Since Boaz was eager to have Rus collect a large amount of grain, why didn’t he advise his youths to leave over full sized “amorim?” It is very unlikely for the harvesters to forget such large items, and Rus would surely catch on that this was done intentionally.
Ch. 2, v. 16: “Shole tosholu …… vaazavtem” – What is added with “vaazavtem”? “Shikchoh,” forgotten bundles that may be collected by the poor, need not have “maa’seir” taken from them. Since they were to “consciously forget” the bundles for Rus there is the fear that she will not tithe the bundles of grain, while in reality it is not “shikchoh,” and thus requires tithing. Boaz therefore added “vaazavtem.” The bundles are totally ownerless, “hefkeir,” which is also exempt from tithing. (Simchas Ho’regel)
Ch. 2, v. 17: “Vatachbote eis asher li’keitoh va’y’hi k’eifoh s’orim” – She banged the grains off the stalks so that she would not have to carry home a very large amount. Even with the banging and only bringing home the grains, she had about an “eifoh” measure. The Ibn Ezra writes that this is an enormous amount for a woman to carry.
As mentioned in 2:16 there was a problem with tithing. Rus suspected that Boaz had his workers “consciously forget” the bundles and she was in a quandary. Should she or should she not tithe the grain? As well it was mixed with other grains that were true “leket” and did not need tithing. She therefore banged the grain and removed the stalk and chaff, leaving over approximately an “eifoh” measure. Even “leket, shikchoh,” and “pei’oh” require tithing once one makes a pile of processed grain that has the volume of an “eifoh,” and now she could confidently separate “maa’seir.” (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 2, v. 18: “Va’tei’re chamosoh es asher li’keitoh” – Rus didn’t come home and proudly show off the great volume of grain that she painstakingly collected. Rather, Naomi looked into her bags and saw the great amount. (Rabbi Shlomo haLevi Alkabetz)
Ch. 2, v. 19: “Eifoh likat’t hayom v’onoh osis” – This seems like double-talk. Shoresh Yishai explains that “eifoh” means “where” with the connotation that the questioner does not know where, but it is somewhere nearby, a combination of “a’yei” and “po,” where over here. “Onoh,” although it also means “where,” has the nuance of difference in that it means where, but refers to some distant place. Naomi, taking note that Rus came back with a very large volume of grain, asked her, “Where did you collect,” meaning that it was obviously very close, as otherwise the travel time going and coming did not leave enough time in the day to collect so much, or alternatively, “onoh,” – did you go quite a distance? If you did, then obviously you could not have collected so much on your own, and it must have been “osis,” that you accomplished that someone donated a lot of grain to you.
Another explanation is based on a novel translation of “eifoh.” Naomi is not asking a question when saying “eifoh likat’t.” Rather, she took note of the volume collected and simply said, “You have collected an ‘eifoh’ (allowing for license to explain the “nikud” of “cholom” as a “kometz”). This is an unusually large amount to collect in one day. Obviously someone has favoured you.” This is now her question. “And now tell me, where have you gone,” i.e. whose field was it, and “may he be blessed.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 19: “Eifoh likat’t hayom v’onoh osis” – The large volume of grain attests to your working from morning until nightfall with no rest. The leftovers of a meal indicate that you were invited to eat with the owner of the field, and you obviously had good manners and ate at the same unrushed pace as he did. If so how did you accomplish so much in just one day? (Malbim)
Ch. 2, v. 19: “Asher osisi imo” – Rus did not say “asher ossoh imi,” that did for me, but rather, “asher osisi imo,” that I did for him. This teaches us that the recipient of alms does more for the donour than the donour does for the recipient. (Medrash Rus 5:9)
Ch. 2, v. 20: “Vatomer Noami l’chamosoh boruch hu laShem” – The medrash says that Naomi’s blessing Boaz with these words brought about his having offspring. Perhaps this is why in 4:17 we find the neighbours saying “yulad bein l’Noami,” even though in reality the son was born to Rus. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 20: “Asher lo ozav chasdo es hachaim v’es ha’meisim” – The Shoresh Yishai explains that the kindness with the dead is that when someone is suffering from a lack of sustenance his ancestors suffer as well.
Ch. 2, v. 20: “Migo’a’leinu hu” – The Rokei'ach says that since the word “migo’a’leinu” is in the plural form, containing a letter Yud between the Lamed and Nun (migo’alim shelonu = migo’a’leinu), this is to be understood as, “He is one of or two redeemers” (Moshiach ben Yoseif and Moshiach ben Dovid). However, in our texts we have no letter Yud in this word.
Ch. 2, v. 21: “Vatomer Rus haMoavioh” – Why does the verse call her a Moabite after she has converted? The medrash says that she still retained a character trait of the Moab nation. Boaz told her to cling to the maidens and she said that Boaz told her to cling to the young men. She didn’t say an outright lie. She just assumed that he didn’t specifically mean maidens, as her modesty sensitivities were not that finely honed yet. This is a critical interpretation.
Gishmei Vrochoh offers that the medrash simply means that she was still not fluent in the Holy Tongue and did not yet know the differences between the gender suffixes. Indeed, Naomi gently corrected her grammatical mistake by saying “seitzi im naaroSov” in the next verse.
Ch. 2, v. 22: “Ki seitzi im naarosov” – Naomi prophetically responded that Rus should go together with Boaz’s maidens, just as Boaz had said, and not with the youths, as Rus had said. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 2, v. 23: “Ad k’lose k’tzir ha’s’orim uk’tzir hachitim” – In the next verse we find Naomi verbalizing her interest in finding Rus a marriage partner. This took place specifically after the completion of the harvest of both barley and wheat, a period of three months. A woman may not remarry until at least three months have passed from the death of her previous husband, so that if she marries and conceives immediately, we will know who sired the child. Only after the passage of three months did Naomi discuss an appropriate marriage partner with Rus. (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 2, v. 23: “K’tzir ha’s’orim uk’tzir hachitim” – The numerical value of these words is the same as “k’tzir ho’omer ushtei ha’lechem.” (Rokei'ach)
He spells “ho’omer” without a letter Vov.
Ch. 3, v. 1: “Vatomer loh No’omi chamosoh” – It is most unusual that the verse specifically here gives Naomi the added description of being Rus’s mother-in-law. She has been mentioned numerous times without this title, and after the death of her son, technically she was no longer Rus’s mother-in-law.
Perhaps this can be understood in light of Naomi’s bringing up the topic of Rus’s remarrying. If this were to take place it would remove Rus one step further from Naomi. Our verse is telling us that in spite of this, Naomi assured Rus that she would still remain emotionally and physically close with her, hence the title “chamosoh.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 1: “Avakesh loch monoach asher yitav loch” – Medrash Rus relates that Boaz had 30 sons and 30 daughters. Every last one of them died during his lifetime, and all after they married. This was because Boaz was a friend of Monoach (who would in the future become the father of Shimshon), but since Monoach had no children during the years that Boaz made weddings for his children, he never invited Monoach to the weddings, stating, “Why should I invite him? He will not reciprocate because he has no children.” Hashem was very displeased with this and punished Boaz by taking away all his children during his lifetime.
We can thus say that Rus told Noami that she should pursue marriage with Boaz. Naomi might respond that it would be an effort in futility, since even if they would have children the children would eventually die shortly after they would marry because Boaz would not invite Monoach. Therefore Rus preempted this by saying that she would search for Monoach and invite him to the wedding, and in turn “asher yitav loch,” it will go well for you. (Shomati)
Ch. 3, v. 2: “V’atoh” – “And now” connotes alacrity. Naomi told Rus that she should act on the plan immediately and enter the threshing area that night and not procrastinate. Indeed, things moved along very quickly and Rus was married to Boaz the next day. This was none too soon as Boaz died on the night of his marriage to Rus, but not until after he had sired the forefather of Melech haMoshiach (see 3:12).
Ch. 3, v. 3: “V’yorad’t hagoren” – Medrash Rus says that we derive from “and you shall DESCEND” that the threshing area should be in a low-lying area. It seems that this is a practical matter. If the threshing area would be elevated, then when one winnows the wind might take hold of the grain and scatter it over a very wide area. By being located in a depression the grain is not subject to extreme winds. This is substantiated by the Medrash Rus 5:12, which relates that Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta purchased a field from Rabbi Chiya. He asked Rabbi Chiya, “How much grain does this field produce?” Rabbi Chiya responded, “One-hundred ‘kur.’” Rabbi Shimon planted and tended to the field and at the end of the season only had 99 “kur.” He came back to Rabbi Chiya and complained that the field produced less than he had projected. Rabbi Chiya asked, “Where did you set up your threshing area?” He answered, “At the highest location I could find.” (Perhaps he felt that by being in the highest area he would have strong unobstructed winds that would facilitate good winnowing.) Rabbi Chiya said, “The verse says that Naomi told Rus to DESCEND to the threshing floor. We can derive from this that one should set up the threshing area in a low-lying area. Go collect the chaff that has blown away during the winnowing and you will find that there is some grain within the chaff.” (The wind was so strong that it carried away even grains.) Rabbi Shimon did this and found another “kur” of grain.
Ch. 3, v. 3: “Al tivodi l’ish” – There was a span of 490 years between the destruction of the two Bo’tei Mikdosh. “Tivodi” has the numerical value of 490, the number of years that Hashem’s positive countenance was not shown to His nation. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 3, v. 4: “V’gilis” – This word can also be read “v’Golyas,” and Goliath. Look at the extreme span of the outcome of Orpoh forsaking Naomi and Rus clinging to her. Rus would bring about the lineage of Melech Hamoshiach, while Orpoh would give birth to Golyas. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 4: “V’gilis mar’g’losov” – Rus told Naomi that the only spot that she would be able to approach Boaz would be by his feet. Since he surely said “Mimini Michoel umismoli Gavriel umilfonai Uriel umei’achorai R’foel val roshi sh’chinas Keil,” before he went to sleep, those areas were occupied by the above-mentioned angels and the Spirit of Hashem. (Yeitev Lev)
Ch. 3, v. 4: “V’gilis mar’g’losov v’shochavt” – As mentioned earlier in the name of the Holy Zohar, Rus’s original name before she converted was Gilis. In a manner of drush we might possibly say that Naomi told Rus, “v’Gilis mar’g’losov,” if you feel your roots as a Moabite woman named Gilis coming back when you come to his legs, i.e. very strong yearning for physical relations with Boaz, then “v’shochavt,” which is spelled but not read with a letter Yud at the end, rendering it “v’shochavti,” then work on toning down your physical urges by thinking “v’shochavti,” that I Naomi, and not you, are lying there. If you are able to control your urges without this and are approaching Boaz only with the intention of producing offspring to serve Hashem, then “v’shochavt,” you yourself will lie there, without the crutch of thinking in your mind that it is as if I am lying there. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 5: “Kole asher tomri (eilai) e’e’seh” – We again have a “kri” and a “ksiv.” The word “eilai” is not written but is read. Continuing with the theme of the previous offering, Rus responded that she would do all that Naomi told her. If she would be strong enough to not involve her physical pleasure, then “asher tomri EILAI,” TO ME, I can approach this thinking that I am doing it. If I will experience physical urges, then “asher tomri e’e’seh,” I will do it, but it is not TO ME, rather as if it were you. (Nirreh li)
An added allusion to this interpretation: The first letters of “Tomri E’e’seh Va’tei’red Hagoren,” without the word EILAI, Tof-Alef-Vov-Hei, spell “taavoh,” lust. (Adaptation of the Rokei’ach)
Ch. 3, v. 5,6: “Asher Tomri E’e’seh, Va’tei’red Hagoren” – The first letters of these words spell “TaaVoH.” This teaches us that when Rus first descended to the threshing grounds to be with Boaz, she had a strong desire for him (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 3, v. 6: “Va’tei’red hagoren” – This is the 51st verse of Megilas Rus. This alludes to the ruling that a threshing place must be removed from the inhabited area of a city by at least 50 cubits (gemara B.B. 24b). (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 3, v. 7: “Va’yeetav libo” – Rashi says that his heart was gladdened because he toiled in Torah study. Boaz was in the main involved in agricultural pursuit, winnowing and storage of his grain. Nevertheless, even then his mind was on the study of Torah, and as expressed by Rashi, OSAK baTorah, he TOILED. How unfortunate is the person who not only doesn’t think of Torah for even a fleeting moment when involved in business, but he even thinks about his business during the time he prays and studies Torah. (Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin)
Ch. 3, v. 7: “Va’yeetav libo” – Targum says that Boaz’s heart was gladdened because after years of famine, Hashem hearkened to his prayers and gave abundant crops.
Other explanations for “va’yeetav libo” found in Medrash Rus:
1) He said grace after his meal.
2) He ate sweet food.
3) He was ready to pursue marriage.
Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura on Pirkei Ovos 3:4 says that the reciting of “birkas hamozon” after a meal is considered having said divrei Torah at the table. Perhaps he combined two explanations in the Medrash Rus, that Boaz said “divrei Torah” and that he recited “birkas hamozon,” and understood that they are one and the same. (Rabbi Ben Zion Feldman)
Ch. 3, v. 7: “Vatishkov” – The Rokei'ach writes that this is the halfway point of Megilas Rus, alluding to this taking place at midnight. Obviously, he doesn’t mean that ½ the verses are completed, as he just said in the previous verse that it is the 51st, and at the end of Megilas Rus he says that it contains 85 verse. It is also not the midway point in words or letters. Any help would be appreciated.
Ch. 3, v. 8: “Va’yilo’feis” – Rashi here and on Shoftim 16:29 translates this word as “and he was embraced.” Rashi in Shoftim actually brings the foreign language translation “anbretza,” phonetically close to “embrace.” In Shoftim it is related that Shimshom gripped and embraced, “va’yilfos,” the two pillars to which he was chained. Rokei’ach says that just as here this happened at midnight, “Va’y’hi bachatzi halailoh,” so too, Shimshon toppled the building at midnight.
Rabbi Yoseif b”r Shimon Karo says that “va’yilfos” means “and he tilted.” It would seem that “va’yeit” in the next verse would mean that he totally pushed them out of an upright position.
Ch. 3, v. 8: “V’hi’nei ishoh” – Rashi says that by putting his hand on her head he realized that it was a woman. Simply understood, although a man’s head is quite similar to a woman’s, and especially at night it is hard to differentiate, we must assume that once Rus was alone with Boaz she removed her head kerchief and he felt a full head of hair, indicative of a woman. Sefer Chasidim writes that the issue wasn’t differentiating between a man and a woman. (Perhaps Boaz realized that it was a woman in another way.) He wasn’t sure if this was a woman or a female negative spirit in a human form, called a “sheidoh.” Once he put his hand on her head and felt hair he was sure that it was a woman and not a “sheidoh,” because a “sheidoh” has no hair.
Ch. 3, v. 9: “Al amos’cho” – In T’hilim 116:16 King Dovid says, “Ani av’d’cho ben amo’secho.” I am the descendant of Rus who modestly expressed herself with the word “amos’cho.” The verse continues “pitachto l’moseiroi,” You have opened my binds. King Dovid praised Hashem for his being allowed to marry a bas Yisroel and to even become king. Hashem has undone the constraints of being a descendant of Yehudoh, who sired children from his daughter-in-law, and also a descendant of Rus, whom many posited was prohibited from being married to a ben Yisroel. (Medrash Shochar Tov on T’hilim 116)
Ch. 3, v. 10: “Bruchoh at laShem” – We have previously brought the Medrash Rus, which says that Boaz merited having a son by virtue of the blessing of Naomi in 2:20. Medrash Rus (6:20) likewise says that Rus merited to have a son by virtue of this blessing bestowed upon her by Boaz.
Ch. 3, v. 11: “Al tiri kole asher tomri e’e’seh loch ki yodei’a kol shaar ami ki eishes chayil ot” – “Ki yodei’a ……” seems to be a non squitur. A bit of insight clears this up. Rus was a Moabite convert. Boaz was the head of the halacha court and a very prestigious member of the community. He responds to her request to take her as a wife with, “Fear not! All that you will say I will do for you.” Rus would very likely not take this magnanimous response seriously, albeit that she requested it, as it is so far-fetched for Boaz to agree. This is why he added that all those who come to the city gate, i.e. basically everyone, has come to realize that she is a woman of valour, as it was publicized that she was an extremely devoted care-giver to Naomi and that she was very modest and halachically careful when gleaning the field. It is therefore not unbecoming for him to take her as a wife. She has no fear that he is simply pacifying her, but has no intention of carrying out his words.
Ch. 3, v. 11: “Al tiri” – Medrash Rus Zuta says that Rus feared for her life. She thought Boaz might kill her for such impropriety.
Ch. 3, v. 11: “Ki eishes chayil OT” – OT is spelled Alef-Tof. You have all the virtues mentioned in the section “Eishes Chayil” in Mishlei chapter #31, which has 22 verses that begin with the letters of Alef-Beis in order, starting with an Alef and ending with a Tof. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 12: “V’atoh” – Here again (see 3:2) we find the word “and now.” Boaz likewise acted with extreme alacrity to carry out the redemption of Machlon’s fields and the marriage of Rus. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 12: “(Alef-Mem) go’eil” – Alef-Mem is written but not read. Rashi says that Boaz told Rus that there was a doubt. Although Boaz was a relative who could redeem, it was doubtful if he would carry through because there was a closer redeemer. Rashi reads Alef-Mem as IM, “if.” Rokei’ach says that the letters Alef-Mem should be read EIM, mother. “Eim go’eil,” you are the mother of the final redeemer.
Ch. 3, v. 13: “*L*iNi” – The Rokei'ach says that the letter Nun in this word is oversized. We have the letter Lamed, and not the letter Nun, oversized. The Rokei'ach says that “night” mentioned here is an allusion to exile. He further adds that the letters of this word are the final letters of four exiles, Bo’veL, ModaI, YovoN, RomI.
In keeping with the theme of exile, our oversized Lamed seems in place, as the only oversized Lamed in the Torah is in the word “va’yash*L*i’cheim,” in the phrase “va’yashLi’cheim el eretz acherres” (Dvorim 29:27). (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 13: “Im yigo’leich tov yigol v’im lo yachpotz …… shichvi ad haboker” – If the final redemption will come in the merit of Torah, which is called “tov,” then “yigol,” the redemption will come hastily, “achi’shenoh.” “V’im lo yachpotz,” if he will not want, he will not have the merit of the Torah, then “shichvi ad haboker,” the redemption will not come hastily, but rather, “b’ito.” (Sfas Emes)
Ch. 3, v. 13: “Ugaltich” – This is the fourth time the word form “g’uloh” is found in our verse. It alludes to Hashem’s redeeming us from four exiles. As well, there are a total of twenty-two “g’ulos” in this entire Megiloh, which alludes to the merit through which we will be redeemed, the Torah, written in an alphabet that contains twenty-two letters. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 3, v. 13: “Chai Hashem” – The name of Hashem Y-H-V-H appears in Megilas Rus 18 times.
Ch. 3, v. 14: “Vatishkav mar’g’losov” – We find the same word “mar’g’losov” in verses 4, 7, and 8. However, in those three verses the word is spelled normally, including the letter Yud just before the last letter. This indicates plural, and indeed the word means “by his FEET.” Our verse has the anomaly of “mar’g’lOsov” without the letter Yud. As well, this is the only one of the four times that it is spelled with a Vov between the Lamed and the Tof. Possibly, this can be explained as follows: What our verse describes is arguably the nadir of behaviour. Boaz is aware that a woman is lying next to him while they are alone and he bids her to sleep the night, although they did not sin. Not so in the other three verses. Verse 4 is the plan that Naomi sets out for Rus. Verse 7 describes Rus’s coming to his feet and lying there while Boaz was asleep. Verse 8 tells of Boaz’s waking up and discovering her by his feet. Not one of these three verses involves his consent. Only our verse does, thus it is surely the seemingly lowest point in Boaz’s behaviour. This mirrors the earlier history of the lineage of the family of kings, Lote’s activities with his daughters and Yehudoh with Tomor.
We can thus say that the word “mar’g’losov,” specifically in our verse, the place where Boaz’s behaviour is the most questionable, leaves out the letter Yud and adds the letter Vov, leaving us with Tof-Mem-Reish, ToMoR. The remaining letters Gimel-Lamed-Vov-Vov have the numerical value of 45, the same as Lote. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 14: “B’t(O)e’rem” – This word is spelled with a silent Vov. Medrash Rus says that this extra letter Vov alludes to her sleeping there for six hours, the numerical value of Vov. Kabalists say that their being together in seclusion for six hours and not sinning rectified the behaviour of Lote who spent six hours with his daughters.
Ch. 3, v. 14: “B’terem yakir ish es rei’ei’hu” – There seems to be a logistical problem with the medrash just mentioned in our verse. Verse 8 says that at midnight Boaz woke up and discovered Rus there. They had a short conversation and according to the medrash they slept for another six hours. How then can our verse state that she stood up before a person could recognize his friend? This was the height of the summer when there are very few hours of darkness. Six hours past midnight is surely during broad daylight. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 3, v. 15: “Hovi” – This word has the numerical value of 17. Boaz alluded to Rus that she would have 17 generations of descendants who would be kings from the time of the building of the Beis Hamikdosh. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 3, v. 15: “Hovi” – The medrash seems to have the text “hovoh,” rather than “hovi.” The medrash explains that although “hovoh” is in the male form, nevertheless, Boaz chose the male form verb so that if someone overheard them he would think that Boaz was talking to a man. I am somewhat puzzled with this because in the same sentence he said, “ola’yich v’echezi,” both female words.
Ch. 3, v. 15: “Va’yomod sheish s’orim” – The gemara Sanhedrin 93a asks, “If we take these words literally, then Boaz gave Rus a pittance. If it means six “s’oh” measurements, this is an amount well beyond her capability to carry.” The gemara concludes that he literally gave her six grains, but his intention was to allude to her that she would merit having six descendants who would each have six positive character traits.
The Malbim explains that there is a measure called “sheish.” It is 1/6th of a “s’oh,” an amount sufficient for two meals, thus supplying her with a meal for herself and one for Naomi. This was his way of telling her that by that evening she would be married and she and Naomi would be partaking of a wedding meal.
Ch. 3, v. 15: “Va’yovo ho’ir” – Not only did Rus head back to the city, but Boaz accompanied her from the fields to the edge of the city to protect her from any errant person, hence “va’Yovo.” (Medrash Rus)
Ch. 3, v. 16: “Mi at biti” – Didn’t Naomi recognize Rus?
1) It was still dark when Rus returned. (Medrash Lekach Tov)
2) These words mean, “Are you still single or
already taken by Boaz?” (Medrash Rus)
4) “Mi” is to be translated as “shel mi.” Are you still mine, my daughter-in-law, or are you now Boaz’s wife? (Nachalas Yoseif)
Ch. 3, v. 17: “Sheish Ha’s’orim” – Sheish is six, and the following letter is a Hei, whose value is five. Rus is relating to Naomi that Boaz has accepted her offer and is willing to build with her a family committed to the five books of the Torah “she’biksav” and the six sections of the mishnoh, the Torah “she’b’al peh.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 17: “Ki omar” – The word “eilai” follows in the reading but is not actually written. This teaches us that Boaz did not speak to Rus in an intimate manner, directing his words at her. (I’geres Shmuel)
Alternatively, we do not find this in his conversation with Rus. Rather this is Rus’s understanding. She surmised that by giving her so much grain he “said in his mind” to give some to Naomi as well. This explains why “eilai” is omitted. Boaz did not actually say these words to Rus. (I’geres Shmuel)
Ch. 3, v. 18: “Eich yipole dovor” – The expression “yipole,” it will fall, is used because all matters are decided in heaven. The outcome of your efforts will fall down from heaven. (Ibn Ezra)
Ch. 3, v. 18: “KI iM kiloH hadovoR” – The final letters of these four words spell “Y’Ma’HeiR,” he will act quickly. (Rokei’ach)
If we were to begin with “iM” and add the next word “ha’yoM,” which on its own indicates quick expedition, “M’HeiRoH” is formed by the final letters. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 1: “U’Voaz oloh hashaar” – Why did he “ascend?” This need not be taken literally. As we see, he assembled ten elders to both deal with Tov’s priority in taking Rus and in ascertaining and publicizing through a court that the final halacha is “Moavi v’lo Moavis.” Where there is a matter that goes before a court or halachic decider the term “aliyoh” is used, as we find, “lo naa’leh (Bmidbar 16:12), v’olsoh y’vimto hashoroh (Dvorim 25:7), va’yaalu ei’lehoh lamishpot” (Shoftim 4:5). (Chizkuni on Bmidbar 16:12)
Ch. 4, v. 1: “V’hinei hago’eil o’veir” – “V’hinei” connotes an unexpected happening. Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachamani said, “Even had Ploni Almoni been at the far end of the world, Hashem would have brought him to the gates of the city,” in a flash, so that Boaz’s commitment to Rus to have the matter settled that day could be fulfilled. (Medrash Rus)
Boaz did his, Naomi did hers, Rus did hers. Said Hashem, “I will likewise do mine and bring Ploni Almoni to the gates of the city.” (Medrash Rus)
Ch. 4, v. 1: “Ploni Almoni” – His name was Tov. The verse calls him Ploni from the word source “pelle,” hidden. He deserved having his name hidden because he did not redeem the properties nor marry Rus.
He was called Almoni from the word source “i’leim.” He was mute, i.e. bereft, of the knowledge that a Moabite convert woman is permitted in marriage to a ben Yisroel. (Medrash Rus)
Ch. 4, v. 2: “Va’yikach asoroh anoshim miziknei ho’ir” – The gemara Ksubos 7b says that ten men were needed to establish once and for all the ruling that a Moabite convert woman is permitted in marriage to a ben Yisroel. Alternatively, the gemara says that ten men were needed to recite the seven blessings when one marries a woman, commonly known as “sheva brochos.”
The story is told of a very wealthy person in Warsaw who came to the head Rov of the city, Rabbi Zanvil Klapfish, for advice. He confided in the Rov that his fortunes had been totally eradicated and that he was about to give his daughter in marriage. If he would make a simple wedding, the secret would be out and hope for procuring large loans for hopefully rebuilding his business would be dashed. On the other hand, to make a resplendent wedding was simply beyond his present means without going deeply into debt and possibly not being able to pay back the loans. What should be done?
Rabbi Klapfish responded that we find marriage meals in two places in Tanach, once by Lovon’s giving his daughter to Yaakov and once here by Boaz. Lovon made a lavish wedding, inviting everyone in his city, and as related by the medrash, he stole property from his guests to pay for the wedding. Boaz, although quite wealthy, invited just ten elderly people, and elderly people do not have big appetites. Rabbi Klapfish advised that the example set by Boaz should be followed and not that of Lovon.
Ch. 4, v. 2: “Va’yikach asoroh anoshim miziknei ho’ir va’yomer shvu fo va’yeisheivu” – This verse tells us that ten men were required. At the same time it contains only nine words. This alludes to the statement of the gemara Brochos 47b, that nine men and the Arone constitute constitute a minyan. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 4, v. 3: “Chelkas haso’deh” – The reason Boaz said that a portion of the field was available for redemption is because originally the field belonged to Elimelech’s, Tov’s, and Salmon’s father, and each received a section as his inheritance. Boaz strongly advised that the field be redeemed so that all adjacent sections remain in the hands of the family. (I’geres Shmuel)
Alternatively, the field owned by Elimelech was part of a larger field. (Ibn Ezra)
Ch. 4, v. 3: “Mochroh No’omi” – Verse 5 clearly indicates that Naomi had not yet sold the field. Translate “mochroh” as “she has put up for sale.”
A slight variation is “she is ready to sell.” (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and others)
Ch. 4, v. 4: “V’im lo yigal” – Shouldn’t the verse have said, “V’im lo Sigal,” as Boaz was directing his words to Ploni Almoni? Medrash Rus answers that Boaz directed these words to the ten elders, referring to the possible refusal of Ploni Almoni. This required witnesses so that Ploni Almoni would not later claim that he was glossed over.
Ch. 4, v. 4: “V’eido(h)” – This word is spelled with a Hei at the end, but it is not pronounced. Without the letter Hei the word simply means “and I will know (that you have refused).” With the letter Hei the word would be “v’eido’oh,” meaning and I will know her. With this Boaz intimated that to take Rus as a wife required having normal marital relations and building a family, this in spite of Ploni’s already having a wife and children. Ploni’s response was, “There goes Rus,” i.e. under these circumstances I will not take her. (Medrash Rus)
It would seem that “onochi egol,” Ploni’s response, is not in proper sequence. As well, the next verse clearly says that only after Boaz told Ploni Almoni that in tandem with redeeming the field was the requirement to marry Rus did Ploni Almoni respond in the negative.
Ch. 4, v. 5: “Rus haMoavioh” – Boaz stressed this point here, even though Rus had already converted, to dissuade Ploni from taking her as his wife. (I’geres Shmuel)
We likewise see that Boaz was very eager to take Rus for himself as evidenced by the “ksiv” of “v’konisI.” (Taamo Dikro)
This might also be why he added “eishes ha’meis,” another dissuasion, as her previous husband married her while she was still a gentile (according to some), or that he died in Moav, not even caring to return to Eretz Yisroel after his father died, i.e. she was previously married to a low level person. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 5: “Koniso” – Although this word is read “koniso,” it is spelled with a letter Yud at the end, as if it were “konisi.” This Yud alludes to the requirement to have ten people present as witnesses when a real estate transaction takes place (gemara Megiloh 23b). (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 4, v. 6: “Pen ash’chis es nachalosi” – I already have a wife and children. If I take another wife it will cause strife with my first wife. If I have children with the new wife it will cause strife with my earlier children. (Targum)
“Pen,” lest, is used to indicate that Ploni was not sure that he would destroy his future progeny. This is either because he was in doubt as to the accuracy of the ruling “Moavi v’lo Moavis” (Chid”o), or because he accepted it but was afraid that others wouldn’t and people would shy away from marrying his offspring (Nirreh li).
A most wonderful explanation of “pen Ash’chis” is offered by the Gri”z Brisker. Ploni thought that the ruling “Moavi v’lo Moavis” was derived through Rabbinic interpretation and insight. This is open to being overturned at a later time by a Rabbinic body that is greater, which might disagree. Thus he was not afraid for the present, as Boaz’s ruling now stood. In the future, however, there is the possibility that it will not be accepted and his offspring will be prohibited from marrying a ben or bas Yisroel, hence, “pen Ash’chis,” in the future tense. However, in reality this was not the case. The ruling was based on a tradition, “halacha l’Moshe miSinai.” This is not subject to change.
Ch. 4, v. 6: “G’al atoh es gulosi” – The words “es gulosi” seem superfluous. The gemara says that when a Torah scholar interprets the Torah law when it was in question in a manner through which he derives direct benefit, i.e. ruling that a woman is permitted to marry when her husband’s death was under question, he himself may not marry her. If so, Boaz’s concluding that a Moabite woman is permitted to be married to a ben Yisroel should not allow him to marry Rus. This is why Ploni said “es gulosi.” “You, Boaz, have given this ruling before I have relinquished my priority to marry Rus. Hence you have ruled leniently for ME and not for yourself. It is only after I decline to marry Rus that she becomes available to you. You would in effect be redeeming MY redemption privilege.” (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 4, v. 7: “V’zose l’fonim b’Yisroel al haguloh” – The first “g’uloh” of the nation Yisroel was “l’fonim,” after 210 years. “L’fonim” has this numerical value. (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 4, v. 7: “V’zose l’fonim b’Yisroel al haguloh v’al hatmuroh” – This has been established since time immemorial. “This” refers to bnei Yisroel’s always being charitable. The gemara B.B. 10a says that giving charity brings the final redemption closer. Thus one who gives charity brings “guloh.”
The gemara Shabbos 151b says that one should give charity when he is financially able to do so because poverty can come to anyone. It is a cycle that is never-ending, “galgal hachozeir bo’olom.” Thus one gives charity because of “tmuroh,” replacement. A person who was wealthy replaces one who was poor and their financial conditions are switched. (Adaptation of the words of the Holy Admor Rabbi Yisochor Dov of Belz)
Ch. 4, v. 7: “L’fonim” – “L’fonim” has the numerical value of 210, the number of years the bnei Yisroel were in Egypt until they were freed, “al haguloh.” After being freed they unfortunately made a golden calf as a substitute, “v’al hatmuroh.” (Ro’kei’ach)
Ch. 4, v. 7: “Al haguloh v’al hatmuroh” – This verse tells us how a redemption privilege or barter was substantiated. Literally these words mean “on the redemption and on the substitute.” Immediately after the six-day war many people in the fervour of ecstasy of being saved from the enemy felt that this was the beginning of the coming of the final redemption, the “guloh.” The Holy Admor of Satmar zt”l wrote a book in which he strongly opposed this view, based totally on his understanding of the Torah viewpoint and named it “Al haguloh v’al hatmuroh,” regarding the redemption and the (incorrect) substitute.
Ch. 4, v. 8: “Knei l’cho” – This is a most interesting transaction, as no tangible object was transferred, only a privilege.
Ch. 4, v. 9: “Va’yomer Boaz lazkeinim v’chol ho’om eidim a’tem” – Boaz stressed “eidim a’tem” to the elders and the people who were in attendance, but to the exclusion of Ploni Almoni. The Rashbam on B.B. 113 posits that a non-kosher witness even when not joining other witnesses in testimony in court also disqualifies the rest of the witnesses if he has the intention of being a witness to what he saw took place. According to Rabbi Yosi this is even true when he only saw the happening and had no intention of being a witness (see Tosfos on the gemara Sanhedrin 9a d.h. “bizman”). Thus Boaz specifically excluded Ploni Almoni from being a witness by stressing that only the others be witnesses. (Meshech Chochmoh)
I have much difficulty in understanding this explanation because the gemara Makos 6a clearly states that those who are the perpetrators of the act cannot be witnesses on themselves. Thus Ploni Almoni, who was an active participant in the transaction that relinquished his privilege, and likewise Boaz who received the privilege, are both excluded from being witnesses with no need for explicit exclusion.
Ch. 4, v. 9: “Eidim a’tem” – This is repeated in the next verse. One group of witnesses was for substantiating the purchase of land (our verse) and one was for the marriage with Rus (verse 10). (Malbim)
Ch. 4, v. 9: “Eidim a’tem ha’yom” –“Ha’yom,” today, is stressed because when a document is used to substantiate a transaction it must have today’s date on it and not yesterday’s or tomorrow’s (gemara B.B. 171a). (M’lo Ho’omer)
Ch. 4, v. 9: “Kol asher l’Chilyon u’Machlon” – This is the only place in Megilas Rus that Kilyon is mentioned before Machlon. Medrash Rus Zuta 4:9 says that when we list people genealogically we mention the better people first, and Machlon was a better person than was Kilyon (see gemara Shabbos 113b). When listing the purchase we stress the purchase that relinquishes the ownership of the worse person first, to counter the possible claim of relatives that it is theirs, in this case, Orpoh or her descendants.
Alternatively, not only were Kilyone’s properties to revert to Boaz, as Kilyone died more recently, but even Machlone’s, who died earlier. (Rokei'ach)
Alternatively, this is because Machlon died first and Kilyon inherited his possessions. Thus when Boaz would take Rus he would be receiving both brothers’ possessions, but at this point in time all would come through Kilyon, so he is mentioned first. (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 4, v. 9: “Miyad No’omi” – How was Naomi an owner of the field? She received a portion of it as her “k’suboh.” (Chid”o)
Ch. 4, v. 10: “Konisi li” – In the previous verse when discussing the ownership of the field and other possessions, Boaz does not say LI. This is because the word LI connotes permanence. Boaz stated that the right to marry a Moabite woman is a law that will be permanent and will withstand all future challenges. His ownership of the field is not guaranteed permanence, hence no LI. (Tosfos Brochoh on parshas Metzora)
Ch. 4, v. 10: “Rus haMoavioh” – This is the only place in Megilas Rus that the word haMoavioh is spelled lacking the letter Vov after the Mem. This is because when spelled with a Vov it is indicative of being Moabite in the fullest, connoting a prohibition to marry a Moabite woman. Now that Boaz is actually marrying Rus he has lessened the Moav stigma with enacting “Moavi v’lo Moavis.” (Taamo Dikro)
I have since found this insight in the writings of the Rokei’ach.
Ch. 4, v. 11: “K’Rochel uch’Leah” – The medrash says that although the majority of those assembled were descendants of Leah, they admitted at this point in time that Rochel was Yaakov’s primary wife, the one he originally had in mind to marry. It remains to be explained why this point is brought out here.
Perhaps we can say that the intention of mentioning Rochel before Leah is to stress that their blessing was that the union should be acceptable. We know that the pivotal halachic issue of the story of Rus is if a Moabite woman is permitted to be married to a ben Yisroel. Although it was ruled that she is permitted, this ruling was in its naissance. Ploni Almoni feared that the ruling might not be accepted in the future. Thus their blessing was that the woman whom Boaz took into his home as his wife should be like Rochel and Leah, but the stress is on Rochel. Although Rochel was truly selfless in giving Leah the signs that Yaakov gave her to insure that she would be the daughter of Lovon given to him, and not Leah, Rochel nevertheless gave these signs to Leah, and Leah became Yaakov’s first wife. Once she was his wife, Rochel becoming Yaakov’s second wife was tenuous, as the Torah would later prohibit marrying two sisters. Indeed, Yaakov considered this act as a blemish on himself, as stated in the gemara P’sochim 119b. Likewise, when they entered Eretz Yisroel and at that point Yaakov could no longer remain married to two sisters, it was Rochel who died, as she was his second wife. Nevertheless, she was his wife and through her he built two very prominent tribes, Yoseif and Binyomin. This was their blessing. Although Boaz’s marriage to Rus was accompanied with innuendo of wrongdoing, nevertheless may he merit building great offspring through her. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 12: “Vihi veis’cho k’veis Peretz asher yoldoh Somor lY’hudoh” – Note the similarity between this and the birth of Peretz, the paternal ancestor of King Dovid. Just as Zerach was about to be born first, ahead of Peretz (Breishis 38:30), yet Peretz pushed forward to be the firstborn, so too here, Ploni Almoni was first in line to marry Rus, and Boaz, who was second, prevailed. (M’lo Ho’omer)
Ch. 4, v. 13: “Va’yikach Boaz es Rus” – Yalkut Shimoni #608 says that Boaz died on the night he took Rus. We could well imagine the table talk in Beis Lechem the next morning. A great debate over the issue of permitting a Moabite woman to be married to a ben Yisroel had ensued earlier. No doubt some people said that Boaz was surely wrong in his ruling and Hashem dealt with him swiftly and definitively for his wrongdoing. However, they were wrong. No matter how convincing circumstantial indications are to the contrary, we must totally rely on the rulings of our sages!
Ch. 4, v. 13: “Va’yikach Boaz es Rus” – Some say that Boaz was 120 years old when he married Rus, while others posit that he was even older. Likewise, Yishai, Dovid’s father, was quite old when he sired Dovid. This was all part of Hashem’s plan to have very old men as procreators of the royal lineage, men who were devoid of physical passions. (Ibn Ezra)
Ch. 4, v. 13: “Va’yikach Boaz es Rus” – The verse stresses that Boaz “took Rus,” meaning with the normal guidelines of acquiring a wife, “Ki YIKACH ish ishoh” (Dvorim 22:13). This is because this was not true “yibum,” where even taking the woman against her will constitutes a binding marriage. (Malbim)
Ch. 4, v. 13: “Va’yi’tein Hashem loh hei’royone” – The common term for this is “vatahar.” “Hashem gave her pregnancy” teaches us that she did not have a womb and Hashem wrought a miracle and gave her a womb at the age of 40. (Medrash Rus)
Ch. 4, v. 13: “Hei’royone” – The numerical value of this word is 271. A full term pregnancy from the moment of conception is 271 days. The gemara Nidoh 38b says that the very pious would avoid having relations with their wives on Motzo’ei Shabbos, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. They would thus avoid having to desecrate Shabbos for childbirth. The reason they also concerned themselves with 272 and 273 days after conception was because conception might take place on the day of relations, or up to the third day afterwards.
The reason that the length of gestation is pointed out here is because Yalkut Shimoni #608 says that on the night that Boaz took Rus, he died. Thus we were sure about the number of days from conception to birth. (Note that there is still the variable of up to two days longer as conception can take place up to three days from the act.)
Ch. 4, v. 14: “Go’eil ha’yom” – It seems that there should be a great stress on the word “ha’yom.” As mentioned in the previous verse in the name of the Yalkut Shimoni #608, Boaz died on the night of his marriage to Rus. Thus, had Hashem not sent the redeemer TODAY, there would have been no redeemer. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 15: “V’hoyoh loch l’meishiv nefesh” – The child born from Rus will restore your life, meaning that the soul of Machlon enters the newborn child and it is as if Machlon is again alive and Naomi has offspring. (Malbim)
Ch. 4, v. 16: “Vat’hi lo l’o’me’nes” – The Holy Alshich writes that miraculously Naomi nursed the newborn child. Thus these words are to be taken literally and not poetically.
Ch. 4, v. 17: “Vatikrenoh lo hash’cheinos shem” – The neighbours gave the child a name, and not his father Boaz, because he died during the night he sired him, as mentioned earlier in the name of Yalkut Shimoni #608.
Ch. 4, v. 17: “Vatikrenoh lo hash’cheinos shem leimore yulad bein l’No’omi” – There are a number of problems with the simple translation of these words.
1) Why did a group of people give him a name?
2) What is the meaning of “leimore”?
3) Why is there no name given here, but rather only after “vatikrenoh” is repeated?
4) Why the double “vatikrenoh”?
5) Why attribute the birth to Naomi? Rus was his true mother.
Perhaps we can say that the verse is telling us two things, one, that the women wanted to publicize that the child is a kosher ben Yisroel and not tainted with the Moavi title. Thus they gave him the TITLE “ben l’No’omi.” If Naomi gave birth to this child there would be no question as to his being a full-fledged ben Yisroel who could later marry any bas Yisroel. They therefore gave this TITLE “leimore,” to be publicized to others. Secondly, they added that his given name (by his mother or grandmother) was Oveid, so that no one should mistakenly deduce from their announcement that his name was “Yulad Bein.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 18: “V’eileh toldos Po’retz” – We now list the genealogy of the house of Yehudoh from which kingship came, and whose descendant will be Melech haMoshiach. If we take the first letters of the last word of the previous verse, “Dovid,” and of the first three words of our verse, “V’eileh Toldos Po’retz,” we have the word “P’DUS,” redemption. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 19: “ V’Chetzron” – There is consistency from this verse through the final verse. Each verse introduces two generations that were not mentioned earlier. Why specifically this number of generations per verse remains to be explained. As well, why in the previous verse do we introduce only one new generation?
Ch. 4, v. 19: “V’Chetzron holid es Rom” – Chetzrone had an older son named Y’rach’meil. However, since he married a Canaanite woman (see Divrei Ha’yomim 1:2:26) he was not worthy of transmitting the kingly line. (Medrash Rus)
Ch. 4, v. 19: “Rom” – Although not even mentioned by name in the Torah, Rom’s being the second son of Chetzrone is mentioned in Divrei Ha’yomim 1:2:9.
Ch. 4, v. 20: “Salmoh” – The next verse calls him Salmone. This is a composite word, “sulom n’siim,” meaning that from Salmone and onwards we have ladders to leaders, i.e. it was from Salmone onwards that it was definitively decided in heaven that kings will come from this family. (Medrash Rus)
Note that Salmoh is spelled Samech-Lamed-Mem-ALEF in Divrei Ha’yomim 1:2:11.
Ch. 4, v. 21: “U’Voaz holid es Oveid” – Isn’t this repetitive, as we know this from verse 17? As well, why does verse 17 tell us the genealogy from O’veid through Dovid since it will again be mentioned in the final verse? Perhaps there is a correlation between the ten people mentioned and the seven “s’firos” plus the three qualities “chochmoh, binoh,” and “daas.” These last three attributes are on a higher level than the first seven and are therefore repeated. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 22: “V’Oveid” – This is the 85th and final verse of Rus. The numerical value of Boaz is 85. Every verse save 8 begins with the letter Vov. The eight exceptions teach us the greatness of Rus, the daughter of king Eglon, who left her nation and joined in marriage with Boaz, who was circumcised on the eighth day, and built the family from whom Melech haMoshiach will emerge, bb”a.
Ch. 4, v. 22: “Es Dovid” – These are the final two words of Megilas Rus, and some say that it is because of the lineage including Dovid we read this Megiloh on Shovuos, as Dovid was born on Shovuos.
We have also completed a continuum of what looks like seeming improper behaviour in the genealogy of the house of Dovid and Moshiach, as mentioned earlier in 3:14. This began with Lote and his daughters. Again a numerical allusion to this: Megilas Rus begins with “Va’y’hi” and ends with “Dovid.” The numerical value of these two words equals that of Lote. (Nirreh li)
– You might wonder why Lote’s daughter, who not only behaved improperly with her father, but also was so brazen-faced to name her son Moav, meaning “from my father,” stating for all that she did such a despicable act, merited to be the forerunner of the royal lineage of king Dovid and Melech haMoshiach. Hagaon R' Moshe Feinstein zt"l writes in his responsa volume #6 that in his youth he visited a sick person in a hospital near his home town of Luban, Russia. The ill person told R' Moshe that the previous night he had a dream in which a woman appeared to him and said that she was the daughter of Lote who gave birth to Moav. She went on to say that if you wonder how she merited that through her offspring the Melech HaMoshiach would come, considering the very negative overtones of the birth of her son Moav, the response is, through her selflessness. Knowing that her father was the leader of the community of S'dom, no one would have suspected him of committing incest with his daughter. Having become pregnant and given birth to a child, she feared that people might consider this an act of immaculate conception, and that they might give her child the status of a god. To avoid this misconception, she specifically gave her son the name Moav, "from my father." This clearly lets the world know that this child was born from a union with her father, to her great embarrassment. This constant humiliation which she brought upon herself merited Melech HaMoshiach coming from her offspring. If you find this concept contrary to your line of thinking, as Rashi and others point out that the older daughter who gave birth to Moav was on an even lower level than the one who gave birth to Amon, and ONLY ridicule and scorn are heaped upon her, it is not so. The gemara Nozir 23b says that the older sister, mother of Moav, had the merit of having the mitzvoh of reproducing earlier than her sister by one day, and was rewarded by having royalty descend from her four generations before her younger sister.
Ch. 4, v. 22: “Dovid” – As just mentioned, the lineage of Melech haMoshiach is cloaked in seemingly unbecoming unions. This began with Lote and his daughters, then Yehudoh and Tomor, and now with Boaz and Rus. The medrash on T’hilim on the words in 89:21, “Motzosi Dovid avdi,” comments, “Heichon m’tzosiv biSdom,” – where have I found him, in S’dom. The root of the seemingly impropriatous behaviour is based in S’dom.
An allusion: The “melaveh malka” meal after Shabbos is called “seudoso d’Dovid Malka M”shicha.” Where have I found Dovid, in S’DoM, an acronym for Seudas Dovid Malka.
n.b. – Please note that at least one dvar Torah has been offered for each and every verse of Megilas Rus.
Chag Shovuos so’mei’ach, v’ein simchoh k’simchas haTorah.
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