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Summary of the Book of Ruth

by the editors    
of Torah from Dixie    

Traditionally read on the second day of Shavuot, Ruth opens with the account of the migration of a wealthy man named Elimelech, along with his wife Naomi and their two sons, from the land of Israel to the immoral society of Moav. He was leaving the Holy Land to escape the pressures of the poverty-stricken Jewish people who were constantly asking him for handouts. Soon after their arrival, Elimelech dies and the two sons marry royal Moavite princesses -- one named Orpah and the other named Ruth. After a short time, the two sons also die. Having lost both her husband and her sons, the righteous Naomi decides to return to her homeland and bids farewell to her daughters-in-law. Orpah, at first refusing to abandon her mother-in-law, decides to stay in Moav. Ruth, on the other hand, cleaves to her faith and ascends to Israel with Naomi, willing to encounter the harsh poverty which awaited them, and stating the immortal lines, "Your people are my people, and your G-d is my G-d" (Ruth 1:16). Poor and hungry, Ruth gathers bundles of wheat that have been dropped by the reapers in the vast fields of Boaz, a prominent Jewish judge. Eventually, Boaz takes notice of Ruth's righteousness and asks her for her hand in marriage. Their great-grandson is King David, the father of our eventual redeemer.

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