Ruth 2:20




oh„œ8j8v‘,#t ܐ0x8j c•z7g‘t r#A4t vܶu`vh8k tv L‚r7c š7,78f0k h!n^gb r#nt`•u   f

:tv b„2k4t`!n Ah!t7v b7k c‚r7e h!n^gb š7k r#nt`‡•u oh!,2Œ8v‘,#tu









and she said








her daughter-in-law




being blessed








by HaShem












he stopped




his kindness








the living ones




and with




the dead ones




and she said




to her












to us




the man




of one redeeming us










2:20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, Blessed is the LORD, because he has not caused his kindness to cease from the living nor from the dead. And Naomi said to her, The man is near of kin to us, he is one of our nearest kinsmen.


Stones Translation


2:20 Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, Blessed is he to HASHEM, Who has not failed in His kindness to the living or to the dead! Naomi then said to her, The man is closely related to us; he is one of our redeeming kinsmen.




2:20 And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed [be] he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man [is] near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.



Ruth 2:20 kai; ei\pen Nwemin th'/ nuvmfh/ aujth'" eujloghtov" ejstin tw'/ kurivw/ o{ti oujk ejgkatevlipen to; e[leo" aujtou' meta; tw'n zwvntwn kai; meta; tw'n teqnhkovtwn kai; ei\pen aujth'/ Nwemin ejggivzei hJmi'n oJ ajnh;r ejk tw'n

ajgcisteuovntwn hJma'" ejstin


Ruth 2:20 Then Noemin said to her daughter-in-law, Blessed is he by the LORD, for he has not abandoned his mercy to the living and the dead! And Noemin said to her, This man is a kinsman of ours, he is next of kin to us.



Peshat Level:




2:20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law: "Blessed be lie by the holy mouth of the Lord, who has not withheld his kindness from the living or the dead. The man is a relative of ours," she continued. "He is of our redeemers."




2:20 To the living or the dead For he feeds and sustains the living and occupies himself with the needs of the dead.



Gemarah Level:



Midrash Level:


Midrash Rabbah


Ruth V:10 AND NAOMI SAID UNTO HER DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: BLESSED BE HE OF THE LORD, WHO HATH NOT LEFT OFF HIS KINDNESS TO THE LIVING (II, 20), for he has fed and sustained the living, AND TO THE DEAD, in that he occupied himself with their shrouds. AND NAOMI SAID UNTO HER: THE MAN IS NIGH OF KIN UNTO US, ONE OF OUR NEAR KINSMEN (ib.). R. Samuel B. Nahman said: Boaz was one of the notables of his generation, and yet the woman made him her relative, as it is said, THE MAN IS NIGH OF KIN UNTO US.



Zohar Level:



Other Commentaries:


Meam Loez


2:20 Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, Blessed is he of the Lord, who has not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead.


Naomi said to her, The man is related to us; he is one of our redeemers.


It is not within our power to repay him for all that he has done for us. May then God Who is ever kind to the living and the dead never cease to bless Boaz for his kindness.


She added, There is a reason that Boaz showed you special kindness. He is our kin and redeemer, and has also dealt kindly with my deceased husband and sons.


According to a different interpretation, Naomi said: I blessed your benefactor (v. 19) before I knew his identity. Boaz has no need of my blessing; he is already blessed of God for his constant practice of charity and kindness. His kindness to you today will continue, she added, for not only is it his way to extend kindness and generosity to strangers, but the Torah has said that helping next-of-kin takes precedence.


Thus it is written, If you lend money to any of My people, even to the poor with you. . . (Exodus 22:24). And our sages elaborate: The poor who are with youyour own kincome first.


The obligation of redeemer, she concluded, therefore rests upon him.


His kindness to the living is also a kindness to the dead, who are affected according to the fortune or misfortune of their living relatives. By supporting the living Naomi and Ruth, Boaz had spared the dead Elimelech and Machlon the shame of having their widows starve or pick in the fields of strangers. Nor was it demeaning for Ruth to pick in the field of Boaz, who was a relative and redeemer.


Ruth, however, failed to understand fully what Naomi meant by Boazs kindness to the dead, and Naomi explained that he was a redeemer; he would wed Ruth to perpetuate the name of her deceased husband.


This marriage would also redeem the living (plural). Naomi and Ruth will both fulfill their designated purposewhen Ruth bears Boaz a child and there is born a son to Naomi (v. 4:17). For this child would be the forebear of Israels redeemer.


Said Rabbi Shmuel ben Nachmani: Boaz was the leading sage of the generation and the woman made of him a relative. That is, at first the families of Elimelech and of Naomi had been greater than the family of Boaz, and worthy of kingship; hence Boaz was called their relative, as Naomi said, The man is related to us. The kinship was to his advantage. Now, however, they had sunk to such straits that they needed him to redeem them, and Naomi concluded, He is one of our redeemers.



Abraham Ibn Ezra





20. Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. Naomi first gave Boaz a blessing, He is blessed by the ETERNAL, for he has not failed in his kindness to the living, for she understood that Boaz intended to support them with dignity for they are the "living" survivors and members of his family.


And to the dead. For she also understood that Boaz intended to perform the act of levirate marriage to establish the name of the deceased.


Naomi backed up her assertion by identifying Boaz as The man is a relative of ours -and therefore is providing for us, his close relatives. He is one of the redeemers. It is the duty of a redeemer to perform levirate marriage to "redeem" the soul of the deceased, so that his name not be obliterated from among the Jewish people. She said, "He is one of the redeemers...," implying that there were others and Boaz was only one of them.




(20)Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law: Blessed be he of God who has not failed in his kindness to the living and the dead. Naomi said to her: The man is a relative of ours. He is one of our redeemers.


(i) Yet again, we are informed that Ruth is Naomis daughter-in-law for what purpose?

(ii) Naomi seems rather negative in her praise of Boaz. She could have been a little more positive by commending him for doing much kindness, instead of simply acknowledging that he had not failed...

(iii) The word ohhjv, the living, is a plural form. To whom is Naomi referring besides herself?

(iv) Whom did she mean by the dead? If it was a reference to her sons, what connection did they have with Boaz? Besides, they had married Moabite girls and deserved no recognition; Naomi had expressed her chagrin over her sons scandalous behavior. (Ruth Rabbah 2:17 on the words It grieves nue... 1:13).

(v) Why does the text have, hngb vk rnt,u, Naomi said to her, if we are already aware of that fact from the beginning of the verse?

(vi) Naomi informed Ruth that Boaz is a relative of ours. In fact, he was only her relative and not Ruths!

(vii) What is actually the difference between a relative and a redeemer? Since every redeemer is related,[1] why the necessity to use both terms?

(viii) Boaz was able to redeem only items belonging to Elimelech and his sons. Why did Naomi call him our redeemer if he had no connection with Naomi or Ruth?


Earlier we learned that Boaz knew of Ruths greatness and that the spirit of Machlon was resident within her, waiting to be redeemed through a levirate marriage (see the Alshichs commentary on verse 11, on the words How much you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband).


Naomi, it seems, was also aware of this, for she still considered Ruth to be her daughter-in-law (see also verse 4).


Boaz Didnt Owe Ruth Any Favors


Blessed be he of God.... The Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 96:5) tells us the following rule: If your friend dies, do not care. If his son dies, you should mourn.[2] Since Elimelech and his sons had died, there was no reason to favor his relatives. If he did so, he would never be repaid, as no descendants of Elimelech survived. Only Ruth was left, and she had married Machlon while yet a Moabitess. Thus, she was not legally his wife and Boaz, therefore, had no reason to favor her. Naomi told Ruth that since Boaz acted out of pure kindness she was indebted to him, for he was not bound to her in any way and would not stand to gain any benefits from being kind to her. The living, thus, refers to Naomi and her son Machlon, whose spirit lived on in Ruth. The dead refers to Machlon himself, as well as his father and brothers.


Ruth, however, did not understand these references, for she had no idea that a spirit was pulsating within her. She was newly converted, and her marriage to Machlon had taken place prior to her conversion. Thus, Naomi found it necessary to add an explanatory clause to let Ruth know of the unique situation she was in; so she said (again) to her, the man is a relative of ours...


Naomi meant to say: Yes, he is even your relative, for the spirit of my son, Machlon, resides within you. But I am not asking you to marry him because of his gentle manner towards you. Since you are connected to me through Machlons spirit, he is your redeemer as well as mine. He can put the spirit of Machlon at rest by redeeming you through marriage.




[1] The redeemer is the next of kin who is required to reclaim the property which his impoverished relative was forced to sell (Leviticus 25:25).

[2] The Midrash says as follows: And deal with me in lovingkindness and truth (Genesis 47:29). Is there another kindness which is false, so that Jacob must say lovingkindness and truth? Imagine if the son of a close friend died. You would be sad and mourn for him, for if you died before your friend, perhaps he would repay you for your kindness. But if your friend dies, there is no reason for you to mourn, for he is no longer among the living to repay you for your concern. Thus, says Jacob: If you are kind to me after my death, that is true kindness, for you know that you will never be rewarded for it by me.