Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nice Devar Torah on Rut

Rav Shmueli at about the 51 minute mark has a nice Devar Torah about Rut. Maybe it's famous, but I never heard it before.

There are 8 Pesukim in Rut that do not begin with the letter Vav. The letters that do begin these Pesukim are י,ש,ה,ב,א,ע,י,ל. These letters can be transposed to make a Siman that reads ישעי באהל, which means "My salvation is in the tent."

When the angels were sent to Avraham Avinu, the task of one of the angels was to save Lot. The angel was given the task, and of course, since Hashem commanded him to do so, he will do it, but he didn't understand why Lot deserved to be saved. The angel knew that Lot's descendants would not be allowed to convert, as it says לא יבא עמוני ומואבי בקהל השם - an Amonite and a Moabite many not come into the congregation of Hashem, so what purpose was there in saving Lot at all? This angel did not know the דרשה of מואבי ולא מואביה - that only male Moabites would not be allowed to enter the congregation, but female Moabites could.

But then, this angel asked Avraham Avinu "איה שרה אשתך - where is Sarah, your wife?" Avraham Avinu answered "הנה באהל - behold, she is in the tent." This answer answered the angel's original question of why to save Lot. How?

One of the reasons Moabites in general could not enter the congregation is because עַל-דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר לֹא-קִדְּמוּ אֶתְכֶם, בַּלֶּחֶם וּבַמַּיִם - since they did not meet you with bread and water when you left Egypt. However, it's normal for a man to go out and greet someone, but not normal for a woman to go out and greet someone. This is why female Moabites were excluded from the prohibition of entering the congregation.

The angel saw that Avraham Avinu went out to greet him with bread and water, and not Sarah. When he asked where Sarah was, Avraham Avinu answered that she was in the tent. This showed the angel that it is only normal for a man to go out and greet another with bread and water, and not a woman. From this, the angel figured out that since women don't go out to greet, and this is a reason why Moabites cannot enter the congregation, then Moabite women must be excluded from this prohibition. If Moabite women are excluded from this prohibition, there is a reason to save Lot for any female descendants he may have.

Of course, the most famous of these descendants was Rut, who married Bo'az and who was the ancestor of David Hamelech and of the Mashiah. Therefore, it's no coincidence that the letters of Pesukim in Rut that don't begin with a Vav that obviously teach us something spell out ישעי באהל - my salvation is in the tent. This is because the rationalization used by the angel to save Lot was because Avraham Avinu said that Sarah Imeinu was in the tent.

I thought this was beautiful.


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