Love and Politics in Ruth

In Rising Moon, Moshe Miller explores the biblical book of Ruth, traditionally read on the upcoming holiday of Shavuot. Ruth begins with the words “It was when the judges judged,” and ends with the title character giving birth to a son who will be the grandfather of David. As Sarah Rindner writes in her review, Miller thus situates Ruth as the bridge between two biblical books: Judges and Samuel.

For Miller, the difference between the period of the Judges, and even the first biblical king, Saul, and his successor David, comes down to something like grace. True kingship, or malkhut, cannot be imposed on a nation—it cannot even be requested by that nation. In Hebrew, the name Saul . . . literally means “asked for,” and Saul’s coronation is rooted in the people “asking” for a king. Kingship, on the other hand, must emerge organically as a kind of “center around which the nation could coalesce”—as exemplified by the more enduring kingship of David and his progeny.

Malkhut [therefore] is a natural outgrowth of a development that has reached a stage demanding integration. It must grow out of a vast complex of interrelationships that insists upon it. Asking for kingship guarantees its failure. . . .

According to Miller, kingship emerges from a web of personal relationships among members of the nation. It is therefore fitting that some of the greatest love stories of the Bible all emerge alongside the first major instantiation of malkhut: the stories of Ruth and [her mother-in-law] Naomi, Ruth and [her eventual husband] Boaz, Saul and [his protégé] David, Jonathan and [his best friend] David, and David and [his lover-turned-wife] Bathsheba. Even the name David derives from the Hebrew word dod, meaning beloved. Love, of course, cannot be forced, but emerges naturally and organically to ultimately produce a union that is greater than the sum of its parts.

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More about: Biblical Politics, Book of Ruth, Hebrew Bible, King David, King Saul, Love, Religion & Holidays

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror