3:6 So she went down to the threshing floor, and did
according to all that her mother-in-law had told her.
3:7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart
was merry, he went and lay at the side of the threshing floor; and while he
was in deep sleep in the threshing floor, she came secretly and lifted the end
of his robe and lay down near his feet.
3:8 And it came to pass at that the man woke up and was startled
when he saw a woman lying at his feet.
went down to the threshing floor and did everything as her mother4n-law
3:7 Boaz ate
and drank and his heart was merry. He went to lie down at the end of the grain
pile, and she came stealthily, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
3:8 1n the
middle of the night the man was startled, and turned about — and
behold! there was a woman lying at his feet!
3:6 And she went down unto the floor, and did
according to all that her mother in law bade her.
3:7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart
was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came
softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.
3:8 And it came to pass at , that the man was afraid, and turned
himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
3:6-8 And she went down to the
threshing floor and did all, as much as her mother-in-law enjoined her. 7 And
Boöz ate and drank, and his heart was cheerful, and he went to lie down on a
section of the pile of straw; she then came secretly, and uncovered his feet. 8 Thus
it came to pass at
that the man was astonished and troubled; and behold, a woman lay at his
So she went down to the threshing floor, and did just as her mother-in-law had
When Boaz had eaten and drunk and felt merry, he blessed the name of the Lord,
who had accepted his prayer, in that he removed the famine from the Land of Israel. Then he went to lie down by the
side of the grain-heap, and Ruth came secretly, uncovered his feet, and lay
down to sleep.
And it happened at
that the man shuddered and trembled, and, as a result, his flesh became as soft
as a [boiled] turnip. Though he perceived a woman sleeping at his feet, he
subdued his evil inclination and did not draw nigh unto her, just like the
righteous Joseph, who refused to draw nigh unto the Egyptian woman, the wife of
his master; and just like the pious Paltiel, the son of Laish, who placed a
sword between himself and Michal, the daughter of Saul and wife of David,
refusing to approach her.
3:6So she went down to the threshing floor and
she didShe (Naomi) had said to her,
“Therefore, bathe, and anoint yourself, and put your garments upon yourself”,
and (only) afterwards, “and go down to the threshing floor”. But she (Ruth) did
not do so, but (instead) she said, “If I go down when I am adorned, whoever
meets me and whoever sees me will say that I am a harlot”. Therefore, she first
went down to the granary, and afterwards she adorned herself as her
mother-in-law had commanded her.
3:7And his heart became merry (Because) he
occupied himself with the Torah.
3:8That the man trembledHe thought it was a demon, and he wanted
to cry out, and she seized and clasped him in her arms.
he was seized(,pkhu means) and
he was seized, as in (Judges )
“And Samson seized (,pkhu)”.
And behold a womanHe placed his hand
upon her head and he (thereby) recognized that it was a woman (since demons
have no hair).
113b Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put they raiment upon
thee. R. Eleazar said: This refers to the Sabbath garments. Give instructions
to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser. R. Eleazar said: This alludes to Ruth
the Moavitess and Samuel of Ramah. ‘Ruth’ — for whereas Naomi said to her, Wash
thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee
down to the threshing floor, yet of her it is written, And she went down unto
the threshing-floor, and [only] subsequently, and did according to all that her
mother-in-law bade her.
19bR.Johanan said: Joseph's strong
[temptation] was but a petty trial to Boaz; and that of Boaz was small in
comparison with that of Palti son of Layish. ‘Joseph's strong temptation was
but a petty trial to Boaz,’ as it is written, And it came to pass at mid-night
and the man was startled, ‘vayilafeth’. What is the meaning of - vayilafeth? -
Rab said: His flesh became [liftath - as hard] as turnip heads [in the
intensity of his arousal].
V:14 AND SHE WENT DOWN UNTO THE THRESHING FLOOR (ib. 6). It is written
concerning Moav: I know his wrath, saith the Lord; but it is not so; his lies
did not so effect it (Jeremiah XLVIII, 30).6 R. Hanina b. Papa, R. Simon, and
the Rabbis explained the verse. R. Hanina said: The first impregnation of Moav
was not for worthy motives, but for adultery, as it is said, And Israel abode
in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of
Moav(Numbers XXV, 1); ’ His lies shall
not so effect it,’ [viz.] for adultery, but for worthy motives instead. Now it
does not say, ‘and it effected his lies,’ but ‘they [sc. his lies] did not so effect it,’[viz.] for worthy motives, but for adultery
instead, [as it is said,]’and Israel
abode,’ etc. The Rabbis say: The first impregnation was for adultery, but later
it was for worthy motives, as it is said, AND SHE WENT DOWN TO THE
THRESHING-FLOOR AND DID, etc.
Again what is the interpretation
of the threshing floor - a very RICH symbol here! (cf. 2 Samuel 24:18-25).
V:15 AND WHEN BOAZ HAD EATEN AND DRUNK, AND HIS HEART WAS GOOD (III, 7).
Why was his heart good? Because he recited the grace after meals. Another
interpretation: AND HIS HEART WAS GOOD: he ate different kinds of sweet things
after his meal, as they accustom the tongue to the Torah. Another
interpretation of AND HIS HEART WAS GOOD: he occupied himself with the words of
the Torah, as it is said, The law of thy mouth is good to me (Psalm CXIX, 72).
Another interpretation: AND HIS HEART WAS GOOD: he sought a wife, as it is
said, Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing(Proverbs XVIII, 22). HE WENT TO LIE DOWN AT THE END OF THE HEAP OF
CORN. R. Judah Nesiah inquired of R. Phinehas b. Hama: Boaz was one of the
notables of his generation, and yet it says that HE WENT TO LIE DOWN AT THE END
OF THE HEAP OF CORN: He answered him: That generation was steeped in immorality,
and they used to pay harlots from the threshing-floors, as it is said, Rejoice
not, O Israel, unto exaltation, like the peoples... Thou hast loved a harlot's
hire upon every threshing-floor (Hos. IX, 1). And righteous men do not act so.
Moreover, because the righteous spurn ill-gotten gain, their possessions are
precious to them’.
VI:1[It may also refer to] the fear
which Ruth caused Boaz to fear, as it is written, AND IT CAME TO PASS AT
MIDNIGHT, THAT THE MAN WAS STARTLED (III 8), and he might easily have cursed
her, but ’ Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be set up on high’. But
God put it in his heart to bless her, as it is said, BLESSED BE THOU OF THE
LORD, MY DAUGHTER (ib. 10). AND TURNED HIMSELF.
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 188b
AND SHE PUT OFF FROM HER THE GARMENTS OF HER WIDOWHOOD . Tamar was the daughter
of a priest, and it can hardly be imagined that she set out with the intention
of committing incest with her father-in-law, since she was by nature chaste and
modest. She was indeed virtuous and did not prostitute herself, and it was out
of her deeper knowledge and wisdom that she approached Judah, and a desire to act kindly
and faithfully (towards the dead). And it was because her act was based on a
deeper knowledge that God aided her and she straightway conceived. So that it
was all ordained from on high. If it is asked, why did not God cause those sons
to be born from some other woman, the answer is that Tamar was necessary for
this purpose, and not any other woman. There were two women from whom the seed
of Judah was to be built up, from whom were to descend King David, King
Solomon, and the Messiah, viz. Tamar and Ruth. These two women had much in
common. Both lost their first husbands, and both took similar steps to replace
them. Tamar enticed Judah
because he was the next-of-kin to her sons who had died, and “she saw that
Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him for wife”. Ruth similarly
enticed Boaz, as it says, “and she uncovered his feet and laid her down” (Ruth
III, 7), and afterwards she bore him Obed. Now we do not ask why Obed was not
born from another woman, for assuredly Ruth was necessary for that purpose to
the exclusion of any other woman. From these two women, then, the seed of Judah
was built up and brought to completion, and both of them acted piously, and had
for their aim to do kindness toward the dead, for the proper establishment of
the world subsequently. And this bears out our exposition of the verse “Wherefore
I praise the dead that are already dead” (Ecclesiastes IV, 2), for whilst their
first husbands were alive there was no merit in them, but afterwards they were
good for something,and so these two women exerted themselves to do kindness and
truth with the dead; and God aided them in that work, and all was done
fittingly. Happy is he who exerts himself in the study of the Torah day and
night, as it says: “but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou
mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou
shalt make thy ways prosperous, etc.” (Jos. I, 8).
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 218a & b
R. Jose began a discourse on the verse: “And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and
his heart was merry”, etc. (Ruth III, 7). ‘His heart was merry,’ he said, ‘by
reason of his having pronounced a benediction over his food; and there is,
further, a deeper significance here, to wit, that whoever says a blessing after
his meal satisfies his “heart”, that which is by him alluded to in the words:
“In thy behalf my heart hath said” (Psalms XXVII, 8), also in, “but God is the
rock of my heart” (Ibid. LXXIII, 26). For, since the blessing offered up for
one's food is precious before the Holy One, blessed be He, whoever pronounces
such a blessing after he is satisfied does good and brings joy to “another
region”. So here “another region” derived enjoyment from the blessing after the
meal that the righteous Boaz pronounced, and thus we read, “and his heart was
merry”. Why pronounce a blessing? It is because the sustenance of man is
troublesome, so to speak, for the Almighty, but when the words of the
benediction pronounced by a man after eating and drinking ascend on high, that
place derives an enjoyment from those words, and so benefit is drawn from the
food, both below and above. This is a recondite teaching known to the
Companions. Furthermore, on weekdays “that region” enjoys only the words of the
after-meal benediction that ascend on high. On Sabbath days, however, there is
an enjoying on high of the very food enjoyed on earth by man in virtue of this
being part of the holy joy of the Sabbath. There is thus here a merging of the
heavenly and the earthly. This recondite teaching is indicated in the passage,
“for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (I
Chronicles XXIX, 14), alluding to the enjoyment in heaven of the holy joy in
the Sabbath repasts partaken of below. Whoever pronounces the after-meal
benediction must do so devotedly, and in a joyful mood unmingled with any tinge
of sadness, inasmuch as in giving thanks he is giving of his own to someone
else; and thus, as he gives thanks joyfully and unstintedly, so will sustenance
be given to him joyfully and unstintedly. By the benedictions, each commencing
with “Blessed art Thou”, are sustained the four legions that rule over the four
corners of the world. Hence we ought to recite them with heartiness. So
Scripture says: “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed, for he giveth
of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs XXII, 9), where the term yeborakh (shall be
blessed) can be read yebarekh (shall-or does-bless); and the verse thus amounts
to saying that we should pronounce the after-meal blessing in a bountiful
spirit, for through that blessing and our joyousness in uttering it we provide,
as it were, sustenance for the poor, to wit, for that region[Tr. note:
Malkuth.] that possesses naught of itself, but draws its sustenance from all
sides and is made up from all sides. Now, these teachings have only been
transmitted to the initiated who are conversant with the sublime mystical
doctrines and with the paths of the Torah. Observe now that Boaz was bountiful
of heart and free from all presumptuousness. It is thus written of him: “he
went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn” (Ruth III, 7). This is
esoterically elucidated by the passage: “Thy belly is like a heap of wheat”
(S.S. VII, 3), and so we learn from here that whoever pronounces the after-meal
grace joyfully and with devotion, when he quits this world there is a place
prepared for him in the sacred and mysterious mansions. Happy is the man who
gives heed to the precepts of his Master and knows their recondite
significance, since there is no precept in the Torah but contains manifold
sublime recondite teachings and radiances and resplendencies; but the sons of
men know not nor give they heed to the glory of their Master. Happy is the
portion of the righteous who are assiduous in the study of the Torah; happy are
they in this world and in the world to come.
So she went down to the threshing floor, and she did according to all that her
mother-in-law had commanded her.
changed only one detail of her mother-in-law’s instructions. Out of modesty,
she postponed anointing herself and dressing up until after her arrival at the
threshing floor [in order not to attract attention on the way there].
Ruth did everything that Naomi said or even hinted, including to purify herself
of idolatry. Thus she did not simply do kf, all, but kff,
“according to all” that her mother-in-law bade her. This also conveys that with
every action Ruth said to herself, “I am doing this to fulfill my
extra letter f (in kff), resembling a semicircle also hints
that she went with the pure intention of begetting judges of the Sanhedrin, who
would sit facing one another in a semicircle, reminiscent of half a threshing
Solomon would build the Beth HaMikdash on the threshing floor of Aravna, which
David purchased and consecrated as a place of worship (2 Samuel 24).
Boaz ate and drank, and his heart was glad. He came to lie down at the end of
the stack [of grain]. Then she came softly, uncovered his feet and lay down.
the famine, even those fortunate enough to eat well never felt satisfied, and
the wealthy Boaz had deliberately restricted his own eating in order to share
in the communal suffering. But now, having winnowed his grain and beheld its
abundance, “Boaz ate” his fill for the first time in years.
in fulfillment of the Torah command: “You shall eat, and be satisfied, and
bless the Lord, your God, for the good land that He has given you” (Deuteronomy
8:10), Boaz joyously thanked God for providing food, and his heart was
gladdened by reciting the Grace after Meals and studying Torah.
it was not eating that gladdened his heart, for “a righteous man eats [only]
to satisfy his soul” (Proverbs )
[not to revel in feasts]. Nor would his heart have been merry with wine, for
the pious take care to remain sober for reciting the Grace after Meals.
Moreover, the scripture does not say that “his heart was glad with wine” as it
does of Ahasuerus (Esther ).
to the Targum, Boaz thanked God for accepting his prayers and ending the
famine. Indeed, uckcyhhu may allude to the blessing :chynvu
cuyv, “Who is good and does good,” which one pronounces when a boon is
so that Ruth would not be kept waiting, God arranged for Boaz to go to sleep
of modesty, he went off alone to “the end of the stack,” far from his servants.
There, the wealthy aristocrat lay humbly down on the floor. Thus his modesty
and humility made possible the implementation of Naomi’s plan, and Ruth came to
him without being noticed.
Boaz lay down, Ruth came ykc, softly, quietly, perhaps with [her face]
wrapped, like Elijah who “wrapped his face in his mantle” (u,rstcuhbp
ykhu) (1 Kings ).
scripture also uses ykc (1 Samuel 24:5) to describe David’s remarkable
entry into the cave after his enemy Saul, who was pursuing him. On that
occasion David was able to cut a piece off Saul’s mantle without being
entry into the threshing floor that Boaz was guarding against thieves was no
less remarkable, particularly since he was not yet asleep but had only gone “to
lie down.” Yet she came undetected, as if invisible. In this vein, ykc
is reminiscent of ovhyvkc, “with their sorcery” (Exodus ).
to a different interpretation, Boaz did not notice her approaching because,
having drunk wine, he fell into a deep sleep. Thus he only became aware of her
at , as the next
And it came to pass at midnight that the man was startled and turned about; and
behold, a woman was lying at his feet.
slept deeply until .
Then, as the wine began to wear off, he tossed and turned (vayilafet, ,pkhu)
in his sleep, or else stretched out, as in, “Samson clasped (,pkhu,
i.e., by stretching his arms and legs against) the two middle pillars” (Judges )—and was startled to encounter
someone lying at his feet. He put out his hand and felt the head of a woman.
always rose at for
worship and Torah study, following a tradition of his fathers that was
subsequently also handed down to his descendants. Thus David said, “At I rise to thank You for Your
statutes of righteousness” (Psalms 119:62).
Boaz awoke to face a great test. He found himself overwhelmed by desire (,pkhu,
can also mean “seized”) which he did not know if he could master. The
possibility of sinning so frightened him that his flesh turned soft as relish (,pk)
and instinctively he held his head with his hands (,pkhu) as one does when
interpretation is that he tried to scream, but she held him tight (,pkhu)
until he regained his composure.
focusing on the thought that at this very moment, at , God enters the Garden of Eden with
the righteous, he succeeded in overpowering his evil inclination. Thereby he
joined the ranks of the righteous Joseph who refused the advances of his
master’s wife, and of Paltiel son of Layish, who placed a dagger between
himself and Michal, daughter of Saul, who had previously been betrothed to
David (1 Samuel 25:44).
beginning of this verse marks the middle of the book of Ruth, symbolic of the
fact that the epic events it records transpired in the middle of the night.
expression “it came to pass at ”
is found three times in the scripture. “It came to pass at , that the Lord smote every first-born
(Exodus ); “And
Samson arose at ,
seized the doors of the gate of the city” (Judges 16:3); and “it came to pass
at that the man was
startled and turned about.” Common to all three instances is the onset of
redemption or the gaining of freedom, for
is a time when prayers are answered. Moreover, all occurred on the night of
the future redemption will occur on Passover vkhkv hmjc, “at ,” which has the same
numerical value (=190) as .e (“end”), the term designating the End of
Days or Messianic era.
besides meaning “was startled,” also alludes to a state of prophecy. Boaz had a
vision of David smiting Israel’s
enemies, the Philistines and Amalekites, and he therefore asked her, “Who are
you that from you will descend the redeemer of Israel?”
sages elaborate: Behold, the purest of women was lying at his feet.
Abraham Ibn Ezra
then went down. After all the workers had completed their labor and gone
home, Ruth secretly stole in to the barn, and did everything [in the
barn] her mother-in-law had instructed her. This refers to perfuming
herself and dressing in her Shabbos clothes.
7. Boaz ate and drank. At the time
(after the day's work had been completed) Boaz ate and [then] came [into
the barn] to lie down at the edge of the [grain] heap. She then came quietly,
uncovered his feet and lay down.
Malbim explains that when a man dies childless, he leaves his essence within
his wife, agitated and threatened by the dissolution of his name and memory. By
refusing to enter into a levirate marriage, the soul of the deceased husband is
denied the "shoe" he needs to reenter this world and fulfill his
explains why Naomi instructed Ruth to go to the granary at night, lie next to
Boaz and uncover his feet (Ruth 3:4). While initially her behavior might seem
inappropriate, the significance of Ruth's message to Boaz was that the time had
come for action: either "uncover the feet" of her deceased husband,
and thwart his soul's return, or provide his soul with a "shoe" by