The Story – Chapter 4




Ruth 4:1-2




v7r‚x r#nt`ˆœ•u z*g`Üc‘r3c1 r±#A4t «r2c`g k‹2t`8v v«™°1vºu ˜o7A c#A±™œ•u ©r*g*¹8v v±7k7g z*g`«c   t

:c2A™œ•u r8x„¶œ•u h×Ðb`n0k*t h±Ðbµ0Ÿ v`„Ÿ‘v7c}A

:c2A™œ•u v`×p‘c}A r#nt`±œ•u rh„!g7v h‚™b0eГ!n ohˆ!A¶b4t v‡7r`7a4g j›8¿Ðœ•u   c









and Boaz


And Boöz


he went up




the gate




and he sat








and behold




the redeemer




coming along








he mentioned








and he said




come over




sit down
















and he went over




and he sat




and he took












from elders of




the town




and he said












and they sat






4:1 Then Boaz went up to the city gate and sat down there; and be­hold, the near kinsman of whom Boaz had spoken was passing by; and Boaz said to him, Come, sit down here. And the man said to him, What do you wish? And he sat down by him.


4:2 And Boaz selected ten men of the elders of the city, and seated them by him.


Stone’s Translation


4:1 Boaz meanwhile, had gone up to the gate, and sat down there. Just then, the redeemer whom Boaz had spoken passed by. He said,  “Come over, and sit down here, Ploni Almoni, “ and he came over and sat down.


4:2 He then took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit here,” and they sat down.




4:1 Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.


4:2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.   



Ruth 4:1 kai; Boo" ajnevbh ejpi; th;n puvlhn kai; ejkavqisen ejkei' kai; ijdou; oJ ajgcisteuth;" pareporeuveto o}n ei\pen

Boo" kai; ei\pen pro;" aujto;n Boo" ejkklivna" kavqison w|de kruvfie kai; ejxevklinen kai; ejkavqisen

Ruth 4:2 kai; e[laben Boo" devka a[ndra" ajpo; tw'n presbutevrwn th'" povlew" kai; ei\pen kaqivsate w|de kai;



Ruth 4:1-2 And Boöz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the kinsman of whom Boöz had spoken was passing by. And Boöz said to him, “Turn aside, sit down here, stealthy one!” And he turned aside and sat down. 2 And Boöz took ten men from the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” And they sat down. 



Peshat Level:




1- Boaz went up to the gate, the Beth Din of the Sanhedrin, and sat there with the elders, when lo, the redeemer of whom Boaz had spoken to Ruth passed by. "Come over," said he, "and sit down here, you, whose ways are secret." So he turned aside and sat down.

2- Then he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said to them: "Sit down here." And they sat down.




4:1  So-and-so  And his name was not recorded since he did not want to redeem.


So-and-so  (hbnkt hbkp) is translated (into Aramaic) in the Prophets (I Samuel 21:3)(as) “concealed and secret”.


So  (hbkp means) covered and concealed, (as in the) expression (Deuteronomy 17:8), “If there be concealed,” (and Genesis 18:14), “Is there anything concealed from the Lord?”


And-so  (hbnkt means) unknown (lit., widowed) without a name. [Another version: (He is called) hbnkt because he was devoid (lit., widowed) of the words of the Torah, for he should have expounded, “An ammonite (is forbidden in marriage to a Jewish female),  but not an Ammonite (to a Jewish male); a Moabite, but not a Moabitess”. Yet he maintained (verse 4:6), “lest I mar my inheritance (i.e. my children).”]



Gemarah Level:


Talmud Babli




Ketuvoth 7a Did not R. Nahman Say: Huna b. Nathan said to me: A Tanna taught: Whence [is it derived that] the benediction of the bridegrooms [has to be said] in the presence of ten [persons]? Because it is said, And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said: ‘Sit ye down here’. And they sat down.1 And Boaz was a widower, who married a widow! — What is [the meaning of the words] ‘she does not require a benediction’ which R. Huna said? She does not require a benediction during all the seven days. but on one day she requires a benediction.


Ketuvoth 7b R. Nahman   said: Huna b. Nathan said to me: A Tanna taught: Whence [is it   derived that] the benediction of the bridegrooms [has to be said] in the presence of ten [persons]? Because it is said, And he took   ten men of the elders of the city, and said: ‘Sit ye down here’… And how does R. Abbahu expound that verse of R. Nahman? — He requires it for expounding: an Ammonite, and not an Ammonitess, a Moavite, and not a Moavitess. For if you would think [that the presence of the ten men was required] for [the saying of] the benediction, would it not have been sufficient if they had not been elders? And the other one? — If you would think [that the verse was to be used] for that exposition, would it not have been sufficient if there had not been ten [persons]? — Yes, to make the matter public.



Midrash Level:


Midrash Rabbah


Ruth VII:7 NOW BOAZ WENT UP TO THE GATE, AND SAT HIM DOWN THERE; AND, BEHOLD, THE NEAR KINSMAN OF WHOM BOAZ SPOKE CAME BY (IV, 1). Was he then standing waiting behind the gate? R. Samuel b. Nahman answered: Had he been at the uttermost ends of the earth, the Holy One, blessed be He, would have caused him to fly and would have brought him there in order that that righteous man should not grieve while sitting there. R. Berekiah said: Thus did these great men, R. Eliezer and R. Joshua, expound. R. Eliezer said: Boaz played his part, and Ruth played hers, and Naomi played hers, whereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, said, ' I too must play Mine. AND HE SAID: HO, PELONI-ALMONI! TURN ASIDE, SIT DOWN HERE (ib.). R. Joshua said: His name was Ploni-Almoni. R. Samuel b. Nahman said: He was ignorant (ilem) of the words of the Torah. He said: ‘The former ones died only because they took them to wife; shall I then go and take her? Heaven forefend that I should take her; will not contaminate my seed, I will not introduce a disqualification into my children.’ But he was unaware of the new law already enacted, ‘Ammonite but not Ammonitess, Moavite but not Moavitess.’        


Ruth VII:8 AND HE TOOK TEN MEN OF THE ELDERS OF THE CITY, AND SAID: SIT YE DOWN HERE (ib. 2). R. Alexander said: From this we infer that an inferior has no right to take a seat until his superior grants him permission. R. Phinehas said: From this we learn that this house appoints elders at banquets. R. Eleazar b. R. Jose said: Hence we learn that the blessing of the bridegroom requires a quorum of ten. R. Judan b. Pazzi said: And not only if a bachelor marries a virgin, but even the marriage of a widower to a widow: requires a quorum of ten.



Zohar Level:



Other Commentaries:


Me’am Lo’ez


4:1 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there. And behold! the redeemer was passing by, of whom Boaz had spoken. He said, “Turn aside, sit down here, so-and-so (Plony Almony).” So he turned aside and sat down.


Naomi was proven right in predicting that Boaz would not rest until Ruth was redeemed. Promptly, in the morning, he came directly “to the gate” [where matters of law were dealt with by the Sanhedrin], in order to fulfill his oath to Ruth.


He “went up.” For as implied by Naomi’s words earlier (v. 3:3), “Go down to the threshing ,“ the threshing floor was located in the lowest part of the city.


Despite his eagerness to settle the matter, however, he was deter­mined to ensure the other redeemer a fair chance to exercise his right of redemption, and took pains to avoid giving the impression that he himself was determined to redeem Ruth. Boaz therefore did not go to the redeemer, but instead “sat down” in the gate (without first requesting permission, our sages note, for he was head of the Sanhedrin) and waited, as if to say, “I have done all I can. The rest is up to God.” Perhaps he also prayed that the redeemer would come by. And indeed, no sooner had Boaz seated himself in the gate, then “behold! the redeemer was passing by,” to fulfill the words that “Boaz had spoken” to Ruth: “And it shall be in the morning, if he will redeem you, let him redeem” (v. 3:13). Boaz had attained the degree of the most righteous, of whom the scripture says: “You will decree a thing, and it will be estab­lished for you” (Job 22:28).


“Behold! the redeemer was passing by.” Was he standing behind the gate? asks the Midrash, and it answers: Even had he been at the other end of the world, God would have whisked him over so that the right­eous Boaz would not have to wait.


The Midrash continues: Boaz did his part, Ruth and Naomi did theirs. And God said, “I, too, will do Mine.” Immediately, He patterned events so that Boaz would wed Ruth, and thus the redeemer passed by within earshot so that Boaz could call him to “turn aside” (surah. vrux).


This unusual expression recalls Lot’s invitation to the angels who had come to destroy Sodom—’ ‘Turn aside (suru, urux) to the house of your servant” (Genesis 19:2). Intent upon saving Lot’s family so that the mother of monarchy would come forth from them, they asked, “Who else have you here? A son-in-law, or sons. . ? Take them out of this place” (Genesis 19:12). But since the sons-in-law refused to flee, the spark of Ruth had to come instead through Lot himself.


Boaz now summoned the redeemer, addressing him by name, which the verse conceals to spare him embarrassment. According to the Midrash Tanchuma, his name was Tov, as it is written, “If Tov will redeem you (cuy lktdh ot), let him redeem” (V. 3:13). However, according to the lbn Ezra interpretation that Tov (cuy) is the common noun meaning good or fine—”If he will redeem you, good! let him redeem”—the scrip­ture never reveals his name.


Because he did not want to redeem Ruth, he is called simply hbunkt hbukp (plony almony), “so-and-so”—a nonentity. Almony means nameless, as in vbnkt (almana), a widow, who does not bear the name of a husband; and as in okt (ilem), mute, for his name is not pronounced.


In addition, the redeemer was “mute” in matters of halacha, for he did not know that a female Moabite convert is permitted to marry a Jew.


According to a different interpretation, Boaz said to the redeemer, “Although you are plony almony, a retiring person who seeks anony­mity, the time demands that you turn aside from your usual modesty, and seat yourself here in the gate.”


Plony almony also means hidden and secret: the fact that he was being offered the opportunity of establishing the kingdom was hidden from him. This is evident from his refusal to redeem Ruth “lest I ruin my inheritance” (v. 6), which Boaz took as a sign that Ruth was divinely designated for himself.


4:2 He then took ten men of the city’s elders and said, “Sit here,” and they sat down.


To publicize the halacha permitting a Moabite woman to convert and marry a Jew, Boaz assembled ten elders. They would also serve as the necessary quorum for the marriage ceremony about to take place, and safeguard modesty and propriety at the wedding festivities, as was customary. Possibly the members of the Sanhedrin were not present, since Boaz, its head, had gone directly from the threshing floor to the gate without stopping to summon them.


But even if the judges of the Sanhedrin were present, Boaz neverthe­less “took ten men” in order to highlight the specific halacha that a marriage must take place in the presence of a quorum of ten. Further­more, he did not want to appear before the court which he headed as a litigant defending his own interest. And in order not to disturb the proceedings of the Sanhedrin, he “took” those ten men off to the side and asked them to “sit.” They promptly complied out of respect for Boaz.


According to a different interpretation, he gave them permission to be seated, from which our sages infer that one may not sit in the presence of a greater man without the latter’s permission.


The Marriage Blessings


Contracting a marriage originally was carried out in two stages, which were set apart from each other by as much as a year. The first stage was the erusin or kiddushin (betrothal) ceremony, which today consists of the groom giving the bride a ring. The second stage was the nesuin or marriage, where the bride and groom symbolically began their life together as husband and wife in the nuptial ceremony under the chupah (marriage canopy, representing a house).


Eventually, to avoid complications, our sages instituted the practice of holding both ceremonies together; and kiddushin, too, takes place today under the chupah.


The word erusin (ihxurt) stems from the verb aras (xrt), which is closely related to the word asar (rxt), to bind. Kiddushin (ihause) means sanctification or consecration, literally setting apart—reserving the parti­cular woman for the particular man. The second stage of the marriage is called nesuin (ihtuab), which is derived from the verb nasa (tab), to take. A man takes a woman in marriage.


The Blessings of Kiddushin


The man who betroths a woman must pronounce a blessing prior to the performance of this mitzvah. This Prenuptial Blessing (Birkath Erusin, ihxurt ,frc) is:


Blessed are You, 0 Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us with His commandments, and com­manded us concerning sexual prohibitions, forbidding to us [women] who are [mere lyl betrothed, but permitting to us [women] who are wed to us through chupah and kiddushin. Blessed are You, 0 Lord, who sanctifies Israel through chupah and kiddushin.


The Rambam writes that the groom pronounces the blessing. However, it is customary for another to recite it for him, so as not to embarrass a groom who may not know how to recite it. This is similar to the practice instituted for the reading of the Torah in the synagogue.


The blessing is recited over a cup of wine. If there is no wine, the blessing is recited without it. The groom and bride are given to sip, and the one who pronounced the blessing has thereby discharged his obliga­tion to drink after reciting the blessing over wine. This is similar to the halacha for Kiddush and Havdalah, where one exempts the other for the blessing over wine.


Blessed are You, 0 Lord our God, King of the universe,

creates the fruit of the grapevine.


The blessing over kiddushin requires a quorum of ten men, including the groom. Relatives as well may be counted toward the ten. But if there is no quorum, it may be recited nevertheless.


If one did not pronounce the blessing of kiddushin at the time the kiddushin is performed, according to some authorities he recites it together with the blessing of nesuin under the chupah. Others say that he should then consecrate her a second time beneath the chupah so that the blessing will be close to the consecration.


The Blessings of Nesuin


Today the custom is to perform the kiddushin as well under the chupah, and since blessings over wine are recited for both kiddushin and nesuin, two cups of wine are required. The blessing “Who creates the fruit of the grapevine” is recited over each cup separately. However, an interval of time should be allowed between the first cup, over which the groom consecrates the bride, and the second cup.


The blessings of nesuin cannot be recited by the groom, since they are meant to bless the couple with success. The custom is that the bride and groom stand facing east, and the one pronouncing the blessings faces them, just as for the Priestly Blessings.


Although all blessings are recited before the event for which it is required, the custom is to recite the blessings of kiddushin and nesurn under the chupah because they are a prayer.


The blessings of nesuin are recited in the presence of ten adult males, including the groom, since they are blessings of joy and the groom is joyous. This applies when they are recited under the chupah or during the meal.


1.         Blessed are You, 0 Lord our God, King of the uni­verse, who created all things for His glory.


2.         Blessed are You, 0 Lord our God, King of the uni­verse, Creator of man.


3.         Blessed are You, 0 Lord our God, King of the uni­verse, who created man in His image, in the image set forth by his structure, and who prepared for him from him a structure to last for all time. Blessed are You, 0 Lord, Creator of man.


4.         May she who is barren rejoice and exult, when her children are gathered within her in joy. Blessed are You, O            Lord, who makes Zion rejoice in her children.


5.         Grant joy to these loving companions, even as You gladdened long ago Your creature in the Garden of Eden. Blessed are You, 0 Lord, who grants joy to bridegroom and bride.


6.         Blessed are You, 0 Lord our God, King of the uni­verse, who created joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, rejoicing and song, cheer and delight, love and harmony, peace and fellowship. Soon, 0 Lord our God, may there be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, a voice of joy and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the jubilant voices of bridegrooms from their wedding canopies, and of youths from their feasts of song. Blessed are You, 0 Lord, who grants joy to the bridegroom with the bride.


Since “Who created all things for His Glory” is said in honor of the assembled guests, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem is mentioned, it is not proper to recite the Seven Blessings if there are less than a quorum of ten. This is inferred from Boaz. [Even though Boaz assembled ten men besides himself,] the groom is counted toward the ten. On the other days of post-nuptial feasting, therefore, if there are no “new faces” (see below) among the guests and only “who created.., joy” is recited, a quorum of ten is not required. Three men are needed, however, to satisfy the minimum requirement of Zimun for the Grace after Meals.


Some say that if in a particular place it is impossible to assemble ten men, one is not to marry there, but must seek out a place where a quorum can be had. Many are of the opinion, however, that in such a case the wedding should be held anyway, and the blessings recited a number of days earlier. But the blessing “Who has created” should be recited at the meal.


Others say that the Seven Blessings should not be postponed beyond the seven days of post-nuptial celebration.


If the ceremony was begun with ten people present, but some left, there are authorities who allow the ceremony to be completed, as in the case of saying “Borchu!” and of Kaddish.


It is customary under the chupah to recite the blessing over wine before the other blessings, and at the meal it is recited after the Grace. The reason is that the blessing over wine is frequent and fixed (tadir, rhs,)—as at Kiddush every Sabbath Eve—while the others are occasional, and a practice that is tadir takes precedence. On the other hand, at the meal it comes last, to make it evident that the cup of wine pertains to the other blessings.


Explanation of the Blessings


1.         The first blessing, “Who created all things for His glory,” is not part of the order, but is in honor of the assembled multitudes who gathered as an act of lovingkindness (chesed, sxj) for the bride and groom. It commemorates all the chesed that God lavished upon the first man. Since there is a blessing over wine, it was arranged with all these bless­ings (Rashi, Kethuboth 8).


Because it is an independent blessing and not part of the order, it opens with “Baruch” although it is adjacent to the blessing over wine. Moreover, at the meal it is the first blessing, hence it must begin with “Baruch.” Another reason is that it is a brief blessing, and if it did not begin with “Baruch” it would not be evident that it is a blessing.


2. “Creator of man” is the first blessing of the order. [And man has so been created to require a wife, as it is written, “It is not good for a man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).]


3.         The matter of marriage is begun in this second blessing of the order. “Who created man in His image” refers to the male, and “prepared for him from him a structure to last for all time” refers to the female [who bears future generations and maintains the home].


4.         “Rejoice and exult” is said because we are obligated to set Jerusalem above our greatest joy, as it is written, “Let my tongue cleave to my palate.. . if I do not raise Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Psalms 138:6).


5.         “Grant joy” is a blessing to the bride and groom for happiness and well-being. These “loving companions” should know gladness such as that which God granted to the first man long ago in the Garden of Eden.


6.         This blessing concludes with the words, “Who grants joy to the bridegroom with the bride,” whereas the previous blessing concluded with “Who grants joy to the bridegroom and bride.” For that was a blessing for their success in life, a prayer for material plenty and well­being, while the present blessing gives praise to God for having created weddings and the cleaving of a husband to his wife through gladness and delight. And “Who grants joy to the bridegroom with the bride” thus gives expression to this delight of the husband with the wife.


In some places it is customary that a myrtle is brought to the chupah, and a blessing recited over it after the blessing on the wine. Then the other six blessings are recited (Rambam).


Where no wine is available, one should soak raisins in water, squeeze them out, and recite the blessing over it. If there are no raisins either, any “beer-like” beverage can be used and the “Shehakol” recited over it. If no cup at all can be had, the nesuin ceremony cannot proceed.


For the erusin blessings, on the other hand, if no cup is available, the erusin blessing (“Who has sanctified us .. .“) alone is said. According to some authorities, also for the erusin if no wine is available one makes the blessing over beer (Ramban, Tur).


The reason that the cup is crucial to the blessing of the erusin ceremony is that there must be seven blessings, just as there are seven days of feasting, and one of the seven is the blessing over wine.


There are seven days of blessing for a virgin and only one for a widow. For a virgin all seven blessings are recited after the meal, follow­ing the Grace after Meals.

For a widow none of these blessings is ever recited on the second and third day, not even “Who created.” The only blessing recited is at the Zimun preceding the Grace after Meals:


Blessed be our God, in whose domain is joy, whose food we have eaten, and through whose goodness we live.


A “New Face”


When there is a “new face” (panim chadashoth, ,uasj ohbp) among the celebrants at the feast, all seven blessings are recited; if not, only Asher bara (“Who created”). In the view of some, even that is recited only if others participate in the Grace after Meals.


Rambam writes that a “new face” includes one who has not heard the Seven Blessings recited. Most authorities, however, define a “new face” as one who has not yet partaken of any of the festive meals.


Some include only men of stature for whom it is fitting that food be added to the meal. Others consider a “new face” to include even those who do not partake of the meal, and all Seven Blessings are recited in their presence.


If the day of the feast is itself distinguished—a Sabbath or a holiday—that is considered a “new face.” According to some, this holds true only for the morning or evening meal, not for the third meal [on the Sabbath]. However, it has now become customary to recite the blessings also at the third meal—some say because it is customary to deliver a Torah discourse at this time.


Abraham Ibn Ezra





1. Boaz [meanwhile] went up to the gateway. The local Sanhedrin was located at the gate of the city. Boaz intended, through a messenger of the court, to invite the other redeemer. However, HaShem fortuitously arranged that the other redeemer should pass by at that moment: Just then, the redeemer...was passing by. (As mentioned earlier [2:4)), the word vbvu, "just then", indicates something new -it was not the custom of the other redeemer to pass by on that road.


Whom Boaz had spoken of. Since Boaz mentioned that the presence of the other redeemer was required, HaShem facilitated that he should pass by. Therefore, [Boaz] said [to him], "...Come over [and] sit here." He should abandon the path which he intended to travel and sit down with them. Boaz called him in Hebrew "Ploni Almoni" -"Mr. So-and-so" -Ploni implying that there was a wondrous matter [akin to pronounce [wondrously] an oath (Bamidbar 6:2)] which entailed a decision-making process; and Almoni implying a connection or binding [akin to binding sheaves (Bereshit 37:7)] -because he spoke of the bond between the individual and his redemption which would now be determined.


2. [Boaz] then took ten of the elders of the city .In Kesubos 7b it is interpreted that Boaz gathered them and expounded before them the ruling that only an Ammonite and not an Ammonitess, a Moabite and not a Moabitess, were prohibited from joining the Jewish people through marriage (see Devarim 23:4-5, and footnote 12). He understood that if a Torah scholar offers an interpretation before a specific event takes place, it is acceptable. However, if it is after the event has already occurred, it is not accepted because he is then suspect of having a vested interest in the case. He therefore gathered the Sanhedrin now while he was still not invested in the case since Tov was the first in line for redemption and levirate marriage. Our Sages (in Kesubos 7b ) have also commented that the marriage blessings may only be recited in the presence of ten adult males (a minyan), and Boaz wanted them to be present whatever the outcome as to who would marry Ruth.