Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:
1In the days when the chieftains ruled, there was a famine in the land; and a man of Beit Lechem in Yehuda, with his wife and two sons, went to reside in the country of Moab.
אוַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה לָגוּר בִּשְׂדֵי מוֹאָב הוּא וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וּשְׁנֵי בָנָיו׃
2The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name was Naomi, and his two sons were named Machlon and Kilyon—Ephrathites of Beit Lechem in Yehuda. They came to the country of Moab and remained there.
בוְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ אֱלִימֶלֶךְ וְשֵׁם אִשְׁתּוֹ נָעֳמִי וְשֵׁם שְׁנֵי־בָנָיו מַחְלוֹן וְכִלְיוֹן אֶפְרָתִים מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה וַיָּבֹאוּ שְׂדֵי־מוֹאָב וַיִּהְיוּ־שָׁם׃
3Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left with her two sons.
גוַיָּמָת אֱלִימֶלֶךְ אִישׁ נָעֳמִי וַתִּשָּׁאֵר הִיא וּשְׁנֵי בָנֶיהָ׃
4They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Rut, and they lived there about ten years.
דוַיִּשְׂאוּ לָהֶם נָשִׁים מֹאֲבִיּוֹת שֵׁם הָאַחַת עָרְפָּה וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית רוּת וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם כְּעֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים׃
5Then those two—Machlon and Kilyon—also died; so the woman was left without her two sons and without her husband.
va-ya-MU-tu gam sh'-nay-HEM makh-LON v'-khil-YON va-ti-sha-AYR ha-i-SHAH mi-sh'-NAY y'-la-DE-ha u-may-ee-SHAH
הוַיָּמוּתוּ גַם־שְׁנֵיהֶם מַחְלוֹן וְכִלְיוֹן וַתִּשָּׁאֵר הָאִשָּׁה מִשְּׁנֵי יְלָדֶיהָ וּמֵאִישָׁהּ׃
1:5 So the woman was left without her two sons and without her husband
The Sages teach that Machlon, Kilyon and their father Elimelech were all leaders of their generation, yet the text is silent regarding the reason for their untimely deaths. According to Rashi, their punishment was the result of the grave sin of abandoning the Land of Israel during a famine. Their actions greatly demoralized the struggling nation. This first lesson of Megillat Rut contains a valuable message for us today. We must not to turn our backs on the Promised Land, especially in her time of need.
6She started out with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab; for in the country of Moab she had heard that Hashem had taken note of His people and given them food.
ווַתָּקָם הִיא וְכַלֹּתֶיהָ וַתָּשָׁב מִשְּׂדֵי מוֹאָב כִּי שָׁמְעָה בִּשְׂדֵה מוֹאָב כִּי־פָקַד יְהֹוָה אֶת־עַמּוֹ לָתֵת לָהֶם לָחֶם׃
7Accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, she left the place where she had been living; and they set out on the road back to the land of Yehuda.
זוַתֵּצֵא מִן־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה־שָׁמָּה וּשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ עִמָּהּ וַתֵּלַכְנָה בַדֶּרֶךְ לָשׁוּב אֶל־אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה׃
8But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Turn back, each of you to her mother's house. May Hashem deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me!
חוַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי לִשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ לֵכְנָה שֹּׁבְנָה אִשָּׁה לְבֵית אִמָּהּ יעשה [יַעַשׂ] יְהֹוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד כַּאֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם עִם־הַמֵּתִים וְעִמָּדִי׃
9May Hashem grant that each of you find security in the house of a husband!” And she kissed them farewell. They broke into weeping
טיִתֵּן יְהֹוָה לָכֶם וּמְצֶאןָ מְנוּחָה אִשָּׁה בֵּית אִישָׁהּ וַתִּשַּׁק לָהֶן וַתִּשֶּׂאנָה קוֹלָן וַתִּבְכֶּינָה׃
10and said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”
יוַתֹּאמַרְנָה־לָּהּ כִּי־אִתָּךְ נָשׁוּב לְעַמֵּךְ׃
11But Naomi replied, “Turn back, my daughters! Why should you go with me? Have I any more sons in my body who might be husbands for you?
יאוַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי שֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לָמָּה תֵלַכְנָה עִמִּי הַעוֹד־לִי בָנִים בְּמֵעַי וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לַאֲנָשִׁים׃
12Turn back, my daughters, for I am too old to be married. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I were married tonight and I also bore sons,
יבשֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לֵכְןָ כִּי זָקַנְתִּי מִהְיוֹת לְאִישׁ כִּי אָמַרְתִּי יֶשׁ־לִי תִקְוָה גַּם הָיִיתִי הַלַּיְלָה לְאִישׁ וְגַם יָלַדְתִּי בָנִים׃
13should you wait for them to grow up? Should you on their account debar yourselves from marriage? Oh no, my daughters! My lot is far more bitter than yours, for the hand of Hashem has struck out against me.”
יגהֲלָהֵן תְּשַׂבֵּרְנָה עַד אֲשֶׁר יִגְדָּלוּ הֲלָהֵן תֵּעָגֵנָה לְבִלְתִּי הֱיוֹת לְאִישׁ אַל בְּנֹתַי כִּי־מַר־לִי מְאֹד מִכֶּם כִּי־יָצְאָה בִי יַד־יְהֹוָה׃
14They broke into weeping again, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law farewell. But Rut clung to her.
ידוַתִּשֶּׂנָה קוֹלָן וַתִּבְכֶּינָה עוֹד וַתִּשַּׁק עָרְפָּה לַחֲמוֹתָהּ וְרוּת דָּבְקָה בָּהּ׃
15So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has returned to her people and her gods. Go follow your sister-in-law.”
טווַתֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה שָׁבָה יְבִמְתֵּךְ אֶל־עַמָּהּ וְאֶל־אֱלֹהֶיהָ שׁוּבִי אַחֲרֵי יְבִמְתֵּךְ׃
16But Rut replied, “Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
va-TO-mer Ruth al tif-g'-ee VEE l'-oz-VAYKH la-SHUV may-a-kha-RA-yikh KEE el a-SHER tay-l'-KHEE ay-LAYKH u-va-a-SHER ta-LEE-nee a-LEEN a-MAYKH a-MEE vay-lo-HA-yikh e-lo-HAI
טזוַתֹּאמֶר רוּת אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִי לְעָזְבֵךְ לָשׁוּב מֵאַחֲרָיִךְ כִּי אֶל־אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין עַמֵּךְ עַמִּי וֵאלֹהַיִךְ אֱלֹהָי׃
1:16 Your people shall be my people, and your God my God
After Naomi begs her daughters-in-law not to follow her back to Eretz Yisrael and gives them compelling reasons to leave her, Orpah does what most people would do. She takes the easy way out, returns to her father’s house and goes off to live a life of anonymity. Rut, on the other hand, answers the call in one of the most beautiful statements of faith and allegiance in the entire Bible. Her words and actions set her on the path of royalty, and have inspired the faithful for hundreds of years. Rut demonstrates for all time what it means to cast one’s lot with the People of Israel, the Land of Israel and the God of Israel. For Rut’s sacrifice, she was rewarded by becoming the matriarch of the Davidic dynasty, and the ancestress of the Mashiach.
17Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus and more may Hashem do to me if anything but death parts me from you.”
יזבַּאֲשֶׁר תָּמוּתִי אָמוּת וְשָׁם אֶקָּבֵר כֹּה יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה לִי וְכֹה יֹסִיף כִּי הַמָּוֶת יַפְרִיד בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵךְ׃
18When [Naomi] saw how determined she was to go with her, she ceased to argue with her;
יחוַתֵּרֶא כִּי־מִתְאַמֶּצֶת הִיא לָלֶכֶת אִתָּהּ וַתֶּחְדַּל לְדַבֵּר אֵלֶיהָ׃
19and the two went on until they reached Beit Lechem. When they arrived in Beit Lechem, the whole city buzzed with excitement over them. The women said, “Can this be Naomi?”
יטוַתֵּלַכְנָה שְׁתֵּיהֶם עַד־בֹּאָנָה בֵּית לָחֶם וַיְהִי כְּבֹאָנָה בֵּית לֶחֶם וַתֵּהֹם כָּל־הָעִיר עֲלֵיהֶן וַתֹּאמַרְנָה הֲזֹאת נָעֳמִי׃
20“Do not call me Naomi,” she replied. “Call me Mara, for Shaddai has made my lot very bitter.
כוַתֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶן אַל־תִּקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי קְרֶאןָ לִי מָרָא כִּי־הֵמַר שַׁדַּי לִי מְאֹד׃
21I went away full, and Hashem has brought me back empty. How can you call me Naomi, when Hashem has dealt harshly with me, when Shaddai has brought misfortune upon me!”
כאאֲנִי מְלֵאָה הָלַכְתִּי וְרֵיקָם הֱשִׁיבַנִי יְהֹוָה לָמָּה תִקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי וַיהֹוָה עָנָה בִי וְשַׁדַּי הֵרַע לִי׃
22Thus Naomi returned from the country of Moab; she returned with her daughter-in-law Rut the Moabite. They arrived in Beit Lechem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
כבוַתָּשָׁב נָעֳמִי וְרוּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּה כַלָּתָהּ עִמָּהּ הַשָּׁבָה מִשְּׂדֵי מוֹאָב וְהֵמָּה בָּאוּ בֵּית לֶחֶם בִּתְחִלַּת קְצִיר שְׂעֹרִים׃