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Potent Perennials

Yael Stolcz

All of us remember certain lessons we were taught, timeless concepts so powerful they remain with us decades later. What about the teachers of those lessons? In honor of Zeman Matan Torah, we asked eight seasoned educators to share the ideas that move them year after year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MRS. AVIGAIL BROWNSTEIN EIGHTH GRADE (WATERBURY, CONNECTICUT) Teaching Megillas Rus has always been a highlight for me. We discuss the greatness of Rus, whose religious background was anything but illustrious. We’d be hard-pressed to find a more lineage-deprived woman in all of Tanach. In fact, the Gemara (Yevamos 76b) says that Doeg Ha’adomi told Shaul not to worry about Dovid, as he was from Moav and would never become king! Rus’s journey to Klal Yisrael was so inglorious that if we’re honest, we might even say that from our elevated vantage points in frum society, a modern-day Rus might be someone we would wrinkle our noses at and, unfortunately, write off. (Would she be accepted into our schools? Would our children be allowed to play with her? How about shidduchim?) Yet the Chachamim saw fit to include an entire sefer in Tanach about this remarkable woman! How did that happen? The Kotzker Rebbe writes that the reason we read Megillas Rus is to learn from her middah of chesed. Rus distinguished herself through her unique chesed of refusing to abandon her impoverished, elderly mother-in-law. In addition, her willingness to listen to her elders — through following Na’ami’s directives — ultimately led her to marry Boaz, thus introducing the Davidic dynasty. These traits Rus embodied deemed her worthy of being the grandmother of Mashiach.

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