Subject C

Sugar and Spice: Ruth as a Paradigm for Unsustainable Niceness?

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 4:05pm -- JOFA

By Chava Evans

Have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live parody, “Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy?” (If you haven’t, I’ll wait a minute while you Google it. Got it? OK.)  If there were a Bat Mitzvah version of this spoof, I imagine the young woman would be delivering a pre-packaged discourse on Ruth as a model of loving-kindness. Orthodox pedagogy relentlessly presents Ruth as angelically kind and unerringly modest.

Courage and Personal Struggle in the Book of Ruth

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 4:05pm -- JOFA

Ruth Balinsky FriedmanBy Ruth Balinsky Friedman

The Book of Ruth is one of the most beautiful stories in the Torah. Like many legendary tales, it begins with a situation of despair for the main characters, followed by stories of courage and personal struggle, and concludes with salvation delivered through the arrival of outside parties. However, what distinguishes the Book of Ruth from other stories is that there are no bad guys; the only antagonist is tragic circumstance. There are, however, two classes of characters in the Book of Ruth - the characters who simply do what is expected of them, and the characters who go above and beyond the law.

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