Parshat Shavu’ot 5781: Rus, Bo’az and the Genealogical Line to David HaMelech

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Parshat Shavu’ot 5781: Rus, Bo’az and the Genealogical Line to David HaMelech

by Moshe Burt

The Sefer “Shem Mishmuel,” as rendered into English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, poignantly notes an odd twist in the story of Rus which ultimately produced the genealogical line to David HaMelech (pages 309):

…Rus went out late one night, on the instruction of Naomi, to meet Bo’az at his threshing house. After their encounter, Bo’az gave Rus an unusual gift. “He measured out six barleys and placed it upon her.” (The Story of Ruth, Perek 3, posuk 15 as rendered to English insefer Shem Mishmuel)

Chazal note the unusual nature of this present and observe the following:

Is it the way of a king [Bo’az] to give only six barley grains? And it can’t mean that he gave her six measures of barley, as a woman is incapable of carrying such a load. [Therefore it must have been a symbolic gift.] Rabbi Yehudah bar Rabbi Simon said, “In the merit of this gift, six Tzaddikim descended from Rus: David, Chizkeyahu, Yoshiyahu, Chananyah – Mishael – Azariyah [these three are counted as one], Daniel and King Moshiach.” (Rus Rabbah, Perek 7, posuk 2 as rendered to English in sefer Shem Mishmuel)

Shem Mishmuel, Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, the Rebbe of Sochaczev (a town in Poland), relates a thought from his Grandfather, the Kotzker Rebbe (ibid, page 309-310):

Klal Yisrael did not inherently possess the ability to establish a Malchus, a royal house with the capability of functioning as kingship. They thus had to import this potential from Ammon and Mo’av, their neighbors. Rus, the progenitor of the house of David, was from Mo’av.

The simple explanation of this is that Yisrael possessed an intrinsic tendency for unity. The result was that no one person could or needed to establish himself as the ruler over others… The only exception to this was Moshe Rabbeinu, who was king of Yisrael… [was] qualitatively different from every other member of the Klal and in some very real way completely separate from them. It was this intrinsic superiority which enabled him to assume leadership.

Along comes Rus, who, when Naomi sought to return to the Land of Israel after the deaths of her husband and both sons, clung to her Mother-in-Law: “Whereever you go, I will go.”

Sefer “Shem Mishmuel” now examines the nature of Mo’av (ibid, page 310):

This nation’s beginning… had its roots in the incest of Lot and his daughters…. Mo’av’s name alludes to the act with which it began; Mo’av means “from father.” They are not ashamed to broadcast their sordid beginnings with the very mention of their name.

“We heard the pride of Mo’av. They are very proud; their pride and arrogance and their conception are improper.” (Sefer “Shem Mishmuel” citing Yeshayahu Perek 15, posuk 6)

Mo’av was suffused with pride and haughtiness; … the very essence of the nation. This may be a bad trait (at least in its manifestation in Mo’av), but without a little of it, in its kosher guise as a Torah Malchus, the kingship could never exist in Klal Yisrael. David HaMelech was descended from Rus, the Moabite; hence, part of his spiritual makeup was inherited from Mo’av. While… the characteristic of pride manifested itself in a positive manner in David, he could not have achieved his greatness without it.

Sefer “Shem Mishmuel” now examines Bo’az, his union with Rus and the genealogical line to David HaMelech (ibid, page 311):

The holy Arizal showed that the name Bo’az can be broken down into “bo az,” meaning “strength is in him.” This conveyed the fact that Bo’az knew he had potential latent within him to bring forth the six tzaddikim mentioned… above [Rus Rabbah, Perek 7, posuk 2]. When he gave Rus the six grains of barley, he indicated that he relinquished this power and instead handed it to her.

Bo’az… realiz[ed] that it was in the best interests of Klal Yisrael for the Malchus to come from Mo’av via Rus. Thus he was prepared to sacrifice his potential to be the progenitor of the whole Davidic line, including that of Moshiach himself, for the national good. Bo’az realized that the line of David must begin with the Mo’abite trait of pride refined and developed for the Jews’ use. He noticed that Rus embodied this characteristic, and her involvement became essential, regardless of whether or not he [Bo’az] became the patriarch of the family.

This act of Bo’az was a gesture of the finest of altruism…. It is upon this very sort of altruism that the Malchus of David is based. It was not just the trait of Rus from Mo’av that was needed to begin the Malchus, but also the ability to sacrifice one’s own desires and advantage for the benefit of the Klal, an essential requirement for a successful king of the Jews. When Bo’az saw in Rus the spark of Mo’av that was required and he handed her his entire potential to bring forth the six Tzaddikim, at that moment the Malchus of David and the Moshiach were born.

This last point : the ability to sacrifice one’s own desires and advantage for the benefit of the Klal is an attribute seemingly lacking in today’s Israeli politicians — thus the inability, over four, going on five elections, to form a stable, viable government.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now free of his parole and restrictions and that he and his ill wife Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha are finally home in Eretz Yisrael. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of five and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Yom Tov!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.