3 Elimelech, Naomi‘s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons.
ג וַיָּמָת אֱלִימֶלֶךְ אִישׁ נָעֳמִי וַתִּשָּׁאֵר הִיא וּשְׁנֵי בָנֶיהָ׃
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
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.2 comments
7 Accompanied 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.
ז וַתֵּצֵא מִן־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה־שָׁמָּה וּשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ עִמָּהּ וַתֵּלַכְנָה בַדֶּרֶךְ לָשׁוּב אֶל־אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה׃
8 But 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!
ח וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי לִשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ לֵכְנָה שֹּׁבְנָה אִשָּׁה לְבֵית אִמָּהּ יעשה [יַעַשׂ] יְהֹוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד כַּאֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם עִם־הַמֵּתִים וְעִמָּדִי׃
9 May Hashem grant that each of you find security in the house of a husband!” And she kissed them farewell. They broke into weeping
ט יִתֵּן יְהֹוָה לָכֶם וּמְצֶאןָ מְנוּחָה אִשָּׁה בֵּית אִישָׁהּ וַתִּשַּׁק לָהֶן וַתִּשֶּׂאנָה קוֹלָן וַתִּבְכֶּינָה׃
10 and said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”
י וַתֹּאמַרְנָה־לָּהּ כִּי־אִתָּךְ נָשׁוּב לְעַמֵּךְ׃
11 But 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?
12 Turn 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,
יב שֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לֵכְןָ כִּי זָקַנְתִּי מִהְיוֹת לְאִישׁ כִּי אָמַרְתִּי יֶשׁ־לִי תִקְוָה גַּם הָיִיתִי הַלַּיְלָה לְאִישׁ וְגַם יָלַדְתִּי בָנִים׃
13 should 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.”
יג הֲלָהֵן תְּשַׂבֵּרְנָה עַד אֲשֶׁר יִגְדָּלוּ הֲלָהֵן תֵּעָגֵנָה לְבִלְתִּי הֱיוֹת לְאִישׁ אַל בְּנֹתַי כִּי־מַר־לִי מְאֹד מִכֶּם כִּי־יָצְאָה בִי יַד־יְהֹוָה׃
15 So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has returned to her people and her gods. Go follow your sister-in-law.”
טו וַתֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה שָׁבָה יְבִמְתֵּךְ אֶל־עַמָּהּ וְאֶל־אֱלֹהֶיהָ שׁוּבִי אַחֲרֵי יְבִמְתֵּךְ׃
16 But 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
טז וַתֹּאמֶר 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.2 comments
17 Where 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.”
יז בַּאֲשֶׁר תָּמוּתִי אָמוּת וְשָׁם אֶקָּבֵר כֹּה יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה לִי וְכֹה יֹסִיף כִּי הַמָּוֶת יַפְרִיד בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵךְ׃
18 When [Naomi] saw how determined she was to go with her, she ceased to argue with her;
יח וַתֵּרֶא כִּי־מִתְאַמֶּצֶת הִיא לָלֶכֶת אִתָּהּ וַתֶּחְדַּל לְדַבֵּר אֵלֶיהָ׃
20 “Do not call me Naomi,” she replied. “Call me Mara, for Shaddai has made my lot very bitter.
כ וַתֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶן אַל־תִּקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי קְרֶאןָ לִי מָרָא כִּי־הֵמַר שַׁדַּי לִי מְאֹד׃
21 I 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!”