Ruth 2:16




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and also








you pull out




to her








the bundles




and you leave




and she can pick up




and not




you rebuke




to her






2:16 And they let her glean between the sheaves, and they did not harm her.


Stone’s Translation


2:16 even deliberately pull out some for her from the heaps and leave them for her to glean; don’t rebuke her.”




2:16 And let fall also [some] of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave [them], that she may glean [them], and rebuke her not.      



Ruth 2:16 kai; bastavzonte" bastavxate aujth'/ kaiv ge parabavllonte" parabalei'te aujth'/ ejk tw'n bebounismevnwn

kai; a[fete kai; sullevxei kai; oujk ejpitimhvsete aujth'/


Ruth 2:16 When carrying sheaves, carry them for her also; and when throwing sheaves upon the piles, you will throw them for her also; and she will eat and glean, and do not rebuke her!” 



Peshat Level:




2:16 "Indeed, drop some of the bunches, and leave them for her to glean, and do not reprimand her."




2:16  And also let fall  (uka,-ka means) you should forget; (I.e.,) make yourself (appear) as though you are forgetting. The Targum of vdda, oversight, is t,uka (Numbers 15:25). And similarly (2 Samuel 6:7), “because of this error”. Another explanation (of uka,-ka is “let fall”) (as in the) expression (Deuteronomy 28:40), “for your olive tree shall cast off (its fruit)”.


Bundles  Small sheaves.  And there is a comparable expression to it in the language of the Mishnah (Erubin 10:1), “(if) he found them (tefillin) tied in bundles oh,cm, or packets”.



Gemarah Level:



Midrash Level:


Midrash Rabbah


Ruth V:7 AND WHEN SHE WAS RISEN UP TO GLEAN, BOAZ COMMANDED HIS YOUNG MEN, SAYING... AND ALSO PULL OUT SOME FOR HER OF PURPOSE FROM THE BUNDLES (II, 15-16). R. Johanan used to scatter coins about in order that R. Simeon b. Abba might acquire them, and R. Judah used to leave lentils about in order that R. Simeon b. Halafta might acquire them.



Zohar Level:



Other Commentaries:


Me’am Lo’ez


2:16  “Also pull out [stalksj for her from the heaps; then leave and let her pick. And do not rebuke her.”


To ensure Ruth an abundant supply of barley without compromising her pride, Boaz instructed his men to create “leket” and “shikechah” for her to pick—”leket” by pulling ears out of the sheaves and scattering them about, and “shikechah” by pretending to forget sheaves. He emphasized that this was to be done “for her,” that is, in a way that she would be sure to acquire the grain. When they saw her coming they were quickly to prepare some “leket” and “shikechah,” and then “leave and let her pick.”


The verb ka may be translated as forget, cast down, or drop off—as in lhkgb ka “cast off your shoes” (Exodus 3:5), or l,hz kah hf, “your olives will drop off” (Deuteronomy 28:40), or to give booty (kka). The term oh,cm may mean small sheaves, which can easily be used for this subter­fuge, or large sheaves, which do not come under the ruling of shikechah.


The double verb uka, ka indicates that the action was to be repeated many times.


In resorting to these ruses to support her without her knowledge, Boaz was fulfilling the commandment of charity par excellence. By giving secretly to spare the poor embarrassment, he emulated God Who sustains the world ohnjrcu sxjc ijc, with pleasantness as well as kindness and mercy (from Grace after Meals).


The Mishnah teaches that a landowner who allows one pauper to pick but not another, or who helps only one of them, is robbing the poor. The reason is that other paupers might stay away when they see that he favors that one. Boaz therefore contrived to benefit Ruth in an area beyond the legal rights of the poor: among the sheaves and with shikechah that was deliberately “forgotten.”


It was also because of Ruth’s incredible beauty that Boaz instructed his men not to help her pick, but to “leave and let her pick,” lest they come to sinful thoughts.


Although Boaz had already admonished his workers to “let her pick” among the sheaves (v. 15), he now repeated the admonition to be sure they complied. According to a different interpretation, previously he had spoken of ohrng bundles of stalks as yet untied; now he referred to oh,cm bound sheaves, or else grain ready for beating, as in hke vk ycmhu (v.14).


Should Ruth, after the special arrangements he had made for her, take even more, or pick together with the other paupers, the workers were not to stop her.


He further admonished them to speak to her gently, as befits a prin­cess. And thus he upheld the teaching of our sages that the Torah prohibition against afflicting another (Leviticus 25:17) refers to verbal abuse.


Boaz earned the kingship of the house of David by speaking gently to Ruth. And in him there came true, “The Lord your God will bless you,” which the Torah accords to those who fulfill the commandments of leket, shikechah, and peah “for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow” (Deuteronomy 24:19).


Abraham Ibn Ezra





16. And also [pretend to] forget some of the small sheaves for her. Boaz commanded his men to leave piles of grain as shich'cha for her to take.


And you shall leave [them so that] she may gather [them]. Because these piles would be obligated to have the agricultural tithes[1] taken from them since, in truth, they were not shich'cha, Boaz remedied the situation by charging that they be abandoned (made hefker) and consequently exempt from any tithes.


And do not criticize her. No matter what she may do, correctly or incorrectly, do not admonish her. By this he intended that she should be able to take whatever she needed since his intention was genuinely to provide for and support her.





[1] See Bemidbar 18:8-13 regarding terumah; see Bemidbar 18:26 regarding ma'aser rishon; and see Devarim 14:22-27 regarding ma'aser sheni.