Monthly Archives: May 2012

Lesson 8, Ruth 2:14-17

In the new method I am using (see two posts below, “A Change in Methodology”) I post the notes a week before we discuss the passage in class. Students prepare in advance and class time is used to discuss our translation and interpretation.

Also, note that in this lesson, we get to experience “hollow” and “geminate” verbs (two kinds of verb roots with weak letters). Understanding which kinds of letters tend to disappear from verbs is very helpful as you grow in translation skill.

וַיֹּאמֶר לָה בֹעַז לְעֵת הָאֹכֶל גֹּשִׁי הֲלֹם וְאָכַלְתְּ מִן־הַלֶּחֶם וְטָבַלְתְּ פִּתֵּךְ בַּחֹמֶץ וַתֵּשֶׁב מִצַּד הַקּוֹצְרִים וַיִּצְבָּט־לָהּ קָלִי וַתֹּאכַל וַתִּשְׂבַּע וַתֹּתַר
(Ruth 2:14)
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In this section of Ruth we see Boaz doing mitzvot (good deeds) beyond the mere obligations of Torah. The rabbis see in the teaching of Torah a command to go beyond obligation, especially Leviticus 19 — the chapter on neighbor-love, care for resident aliens like Ruth, and the gleaning law. Continue reading

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A Change in Methodology

After seven weeks of teaching a live class and also recording for the web, I learned something. I had devised my method for the class based on a series of circumstances. The method I was using was not the best. I have a better plan going forward. Continue reading

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Lesson 7, Ruth 2:8-13

וַיֹּאמֶר בֹּעַז אֶל־רוּת הֲלוֹא שָׁמַעַתְּ בִּתִּי אַל־תֵּלְכִי לִלְקֹט בְּשָׂדֶה אַחֵר וְגַם לֹא תַעֲבוּרִי מִזֶּה וְכֹה תִדְבָּקִין עִם־נַעֲרֹתָי

(Ruth 2:8)

Note that the “a” sound in general is “ah” — when “e” ends a syllable it is “uh” as in “maroon” (MUH-roon) — “e” with a consonant after it rhymes with “bed” — “ie” here should rhyme with “pie”:

va-yoe-mer bo-az el-root ha-loe sha-ma-at-te beetee al-taylkhee leel-koat be-sa-day a-khayr ve-gam loe ta-avooree mee-zay ve-khoe teed-bakeen eem-na-a-ro-tie:


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Gleaning, Corners, and Holiness

The holiness commandments for Israelites, especially found in Leviticus 17-27 and with the apex being in Leviticus 19, are about going above and beyond mere legal requirements. God is holy and so his people are to be holy (19:2). And imitating God means care for the imperiled and needy: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deut 10:18, ESV). Leviticus 19 contains the most potent ethical holiness laws, such as imitating God (vs. 2), loving neighbor (vs. 18), and even loving the sojourner (vs. 34, like Ruth).

Gleaning is a holiness commandment, a prescription to Israel to go above any sort of normal human obligation to care for those in need and, sure enough, it is found in Leviticus 19. Continue reading

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Lesson 6: Ruth 2:1-7

See the bottom of this post for an audio file from the live class.

וַתֹּאמֶר רוּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּה אֶל־נָעֳמִי אֵלְכָה־נָּא הַשָּׂדֶה וַאֲלַקֳטָה בַשִּׁבֳּלִים אַחַר אֲשֶׁר אֶמְצָא־חֵן בְּעֵינָיו וַתֹּאמֶר לָהּ לְכִי בִתִּי
(Ruth 2:2)

Note that the “a” sound in general is “ah” — when “e” ends a syllable it is “uh” as in “maroon” (MUH-roon) — “e” with a consonant after it rhymes with “bed” — “ie” here should rhyme with “pie”:

va-toe-mer root ha-moe-avee-yah el-na-oe-mee ayl-kha-nah ha-sa-day va-alakoe-tah va-shee-boe-leem akhar asher emtza-khayn be-aynav va-toe-mer lah le-khee vee-tee:

See “Chance and Divine Purpose” for some extra insight into Ruth 2:3.

In English, we might say, “I will go” or “may I go?” We have certain words for permission (the optative mood as some grammarians call it, or the Jussive or Cohortative use of the verb). In Hebrew, an Imperfect verb in the 3rd or 2nd person can sometimes be Jussive, expressing a wish (“may he go,” “may you go”). Sometimes, with some roots, there is a spelling difference between the Imperfect and the Jussive, whereas at other times they look perfectly the same. Continue reading

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“Chance” and Divine Purpose: Ruth 2:3

Luck vs. providence. Randomness vs. meaning. Chance vs. order and purpose. In Ruth 2:3, a likely reading is that Ruth’s “chance chanced upon” the very portion of land that was Boaz’s when she went gleaning. The JPS translates וַיִּקֶר מִקְרֶיהָ va-yee-kayr meek-ray-ha “as luck would have it.” The ESV renders it “she happened to come to.” Obviously the JPS is more willing to use the concept of luck than the ESV. Continue reading

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