Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Printed from chabad.org
All Departments
Jewish Holidays
TheRebbe.org
Jewish.TV - Video
Jewish Audio
News
Kabbalah Online
JewishWoman.org
Kids Zone
Contact Us
Visit us on Facebook

How did Naomi's sons marry non-Jewish Moabite women?

How did Naomi's sons marry non-Jewish Moabite women?

E-mail

Question:

How was it that Naomi's two sons married non-Jewish Moabite women? From what I've read, it seems that Ruth only converted to Judaism after her husband died.

Answer:

The biblical commentaries discuss the question that you ask, and they suggest different answers. Some are of the opinion that Ruth and her Moabite sister-in-law Orpah did not convert before marrying Naomi's two sons. According to this interpretation, these two men were guilty of intermarrying.

The Zohar Chadash maintains that Ruth and Orpah did convert before marrying. However, if this is the case, why did Naomi try to convince them both to return to their idolatrous families after the deaths of their husbands?

A conversion to Judaism is dependant on the sincerity of the one converting. During their husbands' lifetime, it was uncertain whether they observed Judaism out of a sincere desire to be part of the Jewish nation, or only to please their husbands. Naomi urged them to remain in Moab to test their sincerity. Orpah indeed remained, while Ruth, who always truly desired to be a Jew, insisted on traveling along to the land of Israel with her mother-in-law to live a Jewish life. Ruth abandoned the luxuries she had as a Moabite princess, readily prepared to become a pauper, out of a sincere love for G‑d.

And for this she was richly rewarded...

Click here to read more about Ruth.

All the best,

Rochel Chein for Chabad.org

Mrs. Rochel Chein is a member of the chabad.org Ask the Rabbi team.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
E-mail
1000 characters remaining
Email me when new comments are posted.
Sort By:
Discussion (4)
December 4, 2013
Interracial marriage
What is the Jewish current view on interracial marriage. Moses and Rurh were good examples and great people in the bible.
Anonymous
UK
August 26, 2009
Ruth a Moabite Princess
Ok so scholarly writings and interpretations about the actual book of Ruth declare it to be so - hmm no actual archaelogical records though, and no other biblical texts / writings in the Torah to declare it so or even circumstantially so. That is an awful difficult leap don't you think? According to the translations I have for the word Ephrathites - it means Fruitful, and it is also an ancient term for Bethlehemjudah , considering that biblically it states they were ephrathites OF bethlemhamjudah one might as easily interpret it to be a sub section of Bethlehamjudah, much like we have different neighbourhoods of a city.
Anonymous
oto
August 25, 2009
RE: Ruth a Moabite Princess ?
The tradition that Ruth was from the Royal Moabite family is found in the Midrash, Talmud, Zohar, as well as many other places in rabbinic literature. Based on the teaching of Rashi, one can say that this implicit in Ruth 1:2 where we read that the Hebrew family who to whom Ruth married was called “ephrathim”—a word translated as “nobles” or “palace dwellers.” It would only make sense for the children of a noble family to marry the children of a family of similar status.
Menachem Posner for Chabad.org
August 25, 2009
Ruth a Moabite Princess ?
Where do you read this in the Bible?
ken
Orlando
FEATURED ON CHABAD.ORG