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.
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
went up. For as implied by Naomis words earlier (v. 3:3), Go down to the
threshing , the threshing floor was located in the lowest part of the city.
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).
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.
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).
unusual expression recalls Lots invitation to the angels who had come to
Turn aside (suru, urux) to the house of your servant (Genesis
19:2). Intent upon saving Lots 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.
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 fineIf he will redeem you, good! let him
redeemthe scripture never reveals his name.
he did not want to redeem Ruth, he is called simply hbunkt hbukp
(plony almony), so-and-soa 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.
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.
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.
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.
He then took ten men of the citys elders and said, Sit here, and they sat
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.
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.
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 latters permission.
The Marriage Blessings
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).
to avoid complications, our sages instituted the practice of holding both
ceremonies together; and kiddushin, too, takes place today under the chupah.
word erusin (ihxurt) stems from the verb aras (xrt),
which is closely related to the word asar (rxt), to bind. Kiddushin
means sanctification or consecration, literally setting apartreserving 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
man who betroths a woman must pronounce a blessing prior to the performance of
this mitzvah. This Prenuptial Blessing (Birkath Erusin, ihxurt ,frc) is:
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
through chupah and kiddushin.
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.
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
creates the fruit of the grapevine.
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.
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
The Blessings of Nesuin
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
say that the Seven Blessings should not be postponed beyond the seven days of
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.
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 Evewhile 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).
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.
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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
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:
be our God, in whose domain is joy, whose food we have eaten, and through whose
goodness we live.
A New Face
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.
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.
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.
the day of the feast is itself distinguisheda Sabbath or a holidaythat 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 mealsome
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.
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.