Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ruth, the first feminist?

"I love to tell the story of Ruth, because I think she is a righteous, cool woman who was not only the first convert but also the first feminist. I love that a non-Jewish woman redeemed land for the Jews, how she wanted to become a full fledged Jew and how she embraced the whole “a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do” philosphy - how cool is that?"
Ruth did not redeem land for the Jews - Boaz did, after Tov (Ploni) refused. Ruth came along as part of the package deal, and not through her own doings either. She stayed home, as instructed by her mother-in-law Naomi, while Naomi took care of matters. (OK, Naomi taking care of matters is a matter of interpretation.)

And a feminist? She relies on the charity of Boaz who lets her collect in his field, and in the end the day is won, and she is a success story, when she manages to snag the eligible bachelor Boaz.

Are these the words of a feminist?

יג וַתֹּאמֶר אֶמְצָא-חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ אֲדֹנִי, כִּי נִחַמְתָּנִי, וְכִי דִבַּרְתָּ, עַל-לֵב שִׁפְחָתֶךָ; וְאָנֹכִי לֹא אֶהְיֶה, כְּאַחַת שִׁפְחֹתֶיךָ. 13 Then she said: 'Let me find favour in thy sight, my LORD; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken to the heart of thy handmaid, though I be not [even] as one of thy handmaidens.'
She wasn't the first convert either.

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