Friday, February 8, 2008

Why Moshiach is descended from the convert Ruth

Maharal[1](Netzach Yisroel #32): From this you can understand why Moshiach will be born from another people. Dovid was a descendant of Moab while Shlomo was a descendant of Amon. When G‑d wants to bring out a new spiritual reality it is necessary to graft a branch of another tree that is different than the original Jewish stock. Obviously if He utilized the original Jewish stock than there is nothing new. Therefore when G‑d wants to bring the seed of Moshiach into the world it is necessary to graft something new onto the Jewish stock. That is the significance of Yevamos (63a)” “And through you will be blessed all the family of the earth” (Bereishis 12:3)? G‑d was saying to Avraham, “I have two good shoots to graft on to you – Ruth the Moabitess and Naamah the Ammonitess.” … The explanation of this gemora is what we have just said. These were the two new shoots needed to graft onto Jewish stock – even though there were obviously many good gerim that have converted to Judaism. Nevertheless Ruth and Naama were singled out. It was only through these two graftings that it was possible to bring a new fruit to the Jewish people which was different than anything that came before. It is important to fully understand how these two graftings were the cause of producing the new fruit. That is because it is not possible for something entirely new for the Jewish people except by means of the nations of the world. Therefore to the degree that something is farther from being Jewish - to that degree it has the potential to produce something new. That is why the totally new existence came from the nations of Amon and Moab because there are no people who are farther from the Jewish people than Amon and Moab [whose men] were specifically prohibited from marrying into the Jewish people forever (Devarim 23:4). This eternal prohibition of the members of a nation is not found concerning any other nation. Consequently it was specifically from these two nations that it was fit that Moshiach should be born since Moshiach is a totally new dimension… Don’t object that this logic would also apply to all converts because it isn’t so. Yevamos (47b) states that gerim are as difficult of Israel as a skin disease…The explanation of this is that a skin affliction is some sort of growth on a person’s skin and thus is an addition to a person who was already complete physically. Thus to the degree that it is an addition it is superfluous (Chullin 58b). Since it is superfluous it is viewed as a deficit for the person who has the growth. In this sense a ger is an addition to the Jewish people who are in essence a single complete entity being the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov and are thus comparable to a single person. Thus when a convert joins he is a superfluous addition because he serves only to destroy the completeness and unity in the same way that the skin afflicition which is a superflous addition ruins the complete of a man. That is why the skin affliction is troublesome to man. Similarly that is why gerim are difficult because they serve as a superfluous addition to the Jewish people. In contrast Ruth and Naama were not mere additions to the Jewish people but their joining was needed to create a new essence which had not existed previously which is not relevant for other converts.

[1] מהר"ל (נצח ישראל - פרק לב): ומזה תבין הטעם שהמלך המשיח יהיה נולד מאומה אחרת, שהרי דוד ממואבית ושלמה מעמונית. שכאשר השם יתברך רוצה להוציא הויה חדשה, אל זה צריך הרכבה מן נטיעה אחרת שאינו מן הראשונה. שאם היה זה הנטיעה הראשונה, אין כאן דבר חדש. ולפיכך כאשר השם יתברך רצה להביא זרע המשיח לעולם, היה צריך לעשות הרכבה ונטיעה חדשה. והיינו דאמרינן בפרק הבא על יבמתו (יבמות סג.) "ונברכו בך כל משפחות האדמה" (בראשית יב:ג), אמר הקב"ה לאברהם, שתי בריכות טובות יש לי להבריך ממך, רות המואביה ונעמה העמונית, עד כאן. וביאור ענין זה כמו שאמרנו למעלה, כי אלו דוקא נקראו 'שתי בריכות טובות', אף על גב דכמה וכמה גרים טובים נתגיירו בישראל, לא חשיב רק אלו 'שתי בריכות טובות'. שאלו ב' בריכות נברכו להוציא פרי חדש בישראל, אשר לא היה קודם. ותבין מאוד איך היו אלו ב' בריכות סבה להוציא פרי חדש, וזה כי לא היה ראוי שיבוא ענין חדש והויה חדשה לעולם כי אם על ידי האומות. וכל אשר יותר רחוק מישראל, ראוי שיהיה ממנו הויה חדשה. ולכך ההויה החדשה באה מן עמון ומואב. שלא תמצא שום אומה יותר רחוקה מישראל מן עמון ומואב, שנצטוו עליהם (ר' דברים כג:ד) "לא יבואו בקהל לעולם", שלא תמצא דבר זה בשום אומה כלל. ומהם ראוי שיהיה נולד המשיח, שהיא הויה חדשה, וכל זה מפני התחדשות הויה החדשה:

ואל יקשה לך, שאם כן בכל גרים יהיה שייך דבר זה, וזה אינו, דאמרינן בפרק החולץ (יבמות מז:) אמר רבי חלבו, קשים גרים לישראל כספחת, שנאמר (ישעיה יד:א) "ונלוה הגר עליהם ונספחו על בית יעקב", עד כאן. וביאור ענין זה, כי הספחת שהוא גדל באדם, הוא הוספה לאדם השלם, וכל יתור כנטול (חולין נח:), והוא חסרון אל מי שיש בו תוספות. וכן הגר הוא תוספות על ישראל, כי ישראל הם בעצמם עם אחד, בני אברהם יצחק ויעקב, כמו אדם אחד. כאשר נתחבר הגר עליהם, הרי יש כאן תוספות. וכל תוספות מבטל השלימות, כמו שמבטל הספחת - שהוא נוסף - שלימות האדם, שמבטל שלימות צורתו, והוא חסרון באדם. ומפני כך הספחת הוא קשה לאדם. וכן הגרים, שאינם רק תוספת בלבד, הם קשים לישראל. אבל אלו שנים אינם תוספות, אבל הם משלימים את ישראל, ואינם נחשבים תוספות, רק הם מתחברים להם, כמו בריכה שאינה תוספות. וכך אלו שנים אינם תוספות, רק לקנות הויה חדשה אשר לא היה מקודם, ודבר זה אינו שייך בגרים אחרים:


  1. from Jews for Judaism

    Ruth, the Mother of all Converts.

    Every religion has its heroes and role models. For converts to Judaism, the Biblical Ruth, the daughter of the king of Moab, is the archetypical personality. Ruth and her forlorn mother-in-law, Naomi, suffered greatly losing their husbands in Moab. Without any apparent motive or personal benefit, Ruth placed her lot with the Jewish people. Ruth’s persistence in staying with Naomi and her proclamation, "…Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die…” remain inspirational rallying cries for converts in every generation. She wholeheartedly accepted the tenets of Judaism and became the consummate faithful Jew, and the great-grandmother of King David – the heir to the Messiah.

    The story of Ruth is read on Shavuot (Feast of Weeks). One of the reasons for reading the Scroll of Ruth is that Shavuot commemorates the people of Israel receiving the Torah, just like Ruth did as an individual. Ruth’s very name in Hebrew alludes to this concept. “Gematria” or numerology is one of the techniques of Biblical exegesis (or methods of extracting meaning from Scripture), where hidden messages can be revealed. The three Hebrew letters that form her name are Reish-Vav-Tuf. In Gematria, Ruth’s name adds up to 606. What does that mean?

    All non-Jews are bound by the covenant of Noah. The Talmud demonstrates how verses in the Torah teach us that when Adam was created, God gave him six basic laws of morality to observe. After the Flood of Noah, mankind was given one more, not tearing a limb from a live animal (general prohibition of caused pain to animals). These seven universal laws are known in Judaism as the “Sheva Mitzvot B’nei Noach,” or Seven Noahide Laws. As an ethical non-Jew, Ruth had already accepted these seven laws. With her conversion to Judaism, she became obligated in 613. The difference between these two numbers is 606, the numerology of her name. Thus, we find a hint in this matriarch’s very identity to her being a model for conversion.

  2. the word בריכה is used in the Talmud to mean shoot or graft. It is found in the Jastrow dictionary but apparently is not part of modern Hebrew.
    Jastrow indicates that the word knee has also the meaning of blessing or grafting which requires bending the plant.

  3. So my question is perhaps the opposite is true? The Torah forbids intermarriage with these nations. So it is not "necessary" to do this aveira in order to bring Moshiach. Moshiach did not appear yet. David, Shlomo , and their dynasty are long dead and buried. David had an imeprfection in his character, leading to his Kingdom being divided, and eventually destroyed. Shlomo also, leading to his big time, warehouse marriage of foreign nations - eventually leading to avodah zarah.
    So what is a more meaningful argument, is that Chilion who married ruth, was sinning, and this pgam somehow came down to David and prevented him from maintaining his Kingdom.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.