Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 17 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/21/12

If the Biblical Ruth came to America Today

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   4 comments
Message Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Dear friends,

The Biblical tale of "Ruth" rises in our awareness this week because we are soon to celebrate her special holy-day.

from wikipedia:  Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld : "Ruth in Boaz's Field", 1828

This coming Saturday evening, Jews begin celebrating the festival of Shavuot -- "Weeks." It begins seven weeks and one day -- fifty days -- after the second night of Passover, and its observance brings us many lessons. In Christian tradition, followers of Jesus gathered to celebrate this holy day and experienced the in-rush of the Holy Breath-Wind-Spirit in many languages.  They named the day Pentecost, from the Greek for "fifty."

Shavuot has many faces. For the Bible, it was the moment to celebrate the success of the spring wheat harvest. For the ancient Rabbis, it was the anniversary of Torah's revelation on Mount Sinai.

And the Rabbis left as legacy to us the annual reading of three extraordinary texts:

-  The Ten Utterances from Sinai, beginning with  "Anokhi, I" --  not the ordinary Hebrew word, "Ani," for an ordinary "I," but  the Infinite  "I"  that bespeaks the Universe;

-  The Book of Ruth, an earthy tale of farming, outcasts, and communal sharing;

-  The Prophet Ezekiel's mystical vision of what has come to be called The Chariot: a moving vision of Four Faces moving -- crowned by the iridescent Rainbow.

In the week before Shavuot, I want to explore all these aspects of the festival.

First, "Ruth."  In the biblical story, Ruth was a penniless immigrant from a despised pariah people. Yet she was welcomed onto the fields of Boaz, where she gleaned what the regular harvesters had left behind. Boaz made sure that even this despised foreigner had a decent job at decent pay. He forbade his male employees from harassing her. When she went one night to the barn where the barley crop was being threshed, he spent the night with her -- and decided to marry her.

But -- if Ruth came to America today, what would happen?

Would she be admitted at the border?

Or would she be detained for months without a lawyer, ripped from Naomi's arms while Naomi's protest brought her too under suspicion -- detained because she was, after all, a Canaanite who spoke some variety of Arabic, possibly a terrorist, for sure an idolator?

Would she be deported as merely an "economic refugee," not a worthy candidate for asylum?

Would she have to show a "green card" before she could get a job gleaning at any farm, restaurant, or hospital?

Would she be sent to "workfare" with no protections for her dignity, her freedom, or her health?

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Rabbi Arthur Waskow Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (in 1983) and directs The Shalom Center , a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Gaza-Israel Violence: The Fuller Story

Five Steps to Burning Books

Behind the Tony Kushner story: The deeper reasons for CUNY's rejection & reversal

Howard Zinn's last advice to America: A Broad Coalition for Independence From the Corporations & the Military

The Speech Mr. Obama should give this Thursday night

Refuting The "White Savior" Attacks on Avatar Movie

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend