Inner and Outer Voices

I always think of her this time year and wonder if she ever could’ve imagined the impact she would have on millions across generations. 

When we read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot, I am struck by the complex and profound depth of character of this biblical woman. Born into Moabite royalty, Ruth defied norms and stereotypes. She married a Jew and chose to remain childless. (I wonder what her family and people had to say about that.) Then widowed, she followed her mother-in-law to the land of the Jewish people. (I wonder what Naomi’s kin and neighbors thought about THAT.) And then Ruth went out at night to seduce Boaz on the threshing floor. (I know what HE thought about that!) The themes and psychoanalysis that could come of these facts alone are endless. 

So what do we make of this matriarch of King David? When I read the text, I can’t help but admire this brave, independent, confident, opinionated woman. She did what she thought best; according to the values, beliefs, and priorities that most resonated with her and life she wanted to live. The is no indication that she cared about others’ reactions to her decisions — except when it came to Naomi’s. To her credit, Naomi’s thoughts and opinions mattered to Ruth. 

Tonight, as I light the Sabbath candles, I will be thinking of my two daughters; one by birth and the other by marriage. I will pray that their inner voices be the strongest guides they ever will need. But I also will hope that I can be a sounding board…if they ever need one…

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