Thoughts on Ruth Part Six
Transcribed by Daniel Goldman from a lecture recorded 19 April 1999: You have to realize that there is far more to a verse than meets the eye. For example, what does the name Elimelech (‘my Lord is King’) mean? Ruth descends from Balak and Eglon, both of whom had great respect for the king. Balak deserved to have a grand-daughter named Ruth because he brought sacrifices to God. Eglon has the merit of having a daughter named Ruth because whenever he would hear God’s name, he would stand up. There was a lot of respect for God in Ruth’s family. I’ll prove to you I’m right. But you’ll have to wait a couple verses.
“And Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died. And she was left, she and her two sons.” (1:3)
Whoa! I already know that Elimelech was Noami’s husband. Secondly, who has been the protagonist up to now? – Elimelech! All of a sudden Naomi defines Elimelech. Now she is the main character. But how did this come about if she didn’t have the strength to stand up to her husband when they moved to Moab. Incidentally, why did Naomi move to Moab? A wife does not have to yield to her husband if he demands that they move out of Israel. If his wife decides that she does not want to move, then he is forbidden to do so. The Midrash says that no one experiences death the way (God-forbid) a wife does. It’s a Gemara in Ketuvot.
Before reading the rest of the verse answer this: Elimelech has died, who is left? – Naomi and her two sons. You guys are brilliant. No one else is because the rest of the verse tells us that “she was left, she and her two sons.” So it must mean something else