Messiah in Shavuot Chapter 10

  1. When the Strong One awoke from his sleep…
  2. He went to the gate of the city

When the Strong One awoke from his sleep…

When Boaz awoke he found Ruth laying at his feet. As planned she then announced her claim on him:

“Spread your wings [the four corners of his cloak] over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

Boaz was overjoyed at the request. However, he was concerned that there was a kinsman nearer than he who was required to act as Ruth’s redeemer. The (unnamed) closer relative would have to first refuse to fulfill his responsibility to Ruth before his alternate Boaz could take his place to act as the redeemer on her behalf. Ruth spent the rest of the night at the threshing floor when Boaz promised to settle the question as soon as he was able.

Before sunrise, she returned to Naomi who asked her if she was now “betrothed to Boaz” (i.e., the question “who are you, my daughter?”). After learning all the details Naomi assured Ruth that Boaz would not rest until he had settled the matter on that very same day (Ruth 3:18). The spiritual meaning of sleeping to waking indicates both physical and spiritual transformation; that is death to resurrection. This narrative of death to resurrection is first mentioned in Genesis when:

The first Adam slept and His Father in heaven created out of the best of him—his fifth rib that rests in close proximity to the heart (the symbol of the Divine Spirit)—a “Companion” (literally a Helper).

However, when the woman (his wife) was deceived by the evil one the first Adam failed to become her Redeemer. The first Adam Ben HaElohim refused the privilege. Instead, the first Adam (Man) chose to be the woman’s accuser; instead of her Savior. However, quite in contrast, the (second) and last Adam Ben HaElohim, Ha-Mashiach, accepted the privilege of being the Redeemer (HaGo’el) of us all. He succeeded where the first Adam failed. He chose to be the woman (and the man’s) Savior; instead of their accuser. In Isaiah 53 the Suffering Servant sleeps in a death that He did not deserve but that He volunteered for. At first the sacrifice is seen only to be an exercise in futility.

How can the death of a righteous one be anything but an act of moral chaos and injustice?

At first glance he sacrifice of the Messiah, the Righteous One, makes no sense. Only when the Ha-Mashiach awakens from His sleep in death are we most  blessed to discover that His sacrifice was not at all in vain. Joyously we can see that His sacrifice has led to the salvation of innumerable souls (i.e. His children).

Therefore through the sacrifice of the Suffering Servant, The Last Adam (HaAdam Ha-acharon), Adonai has created a new redeemed humanity that will one day joyously be “resting at His feet” (a phrase that indicates the blessed state of life that will belong to the children of light in the messianic kingdom).

He went to the gate of the city:

Boaz went immediately to the gate of the city of Bethlehem. The gate of the city is where all the legal transactions (governance) of ancient Israel took place. The gate was where the people’s City Hall was located. It was there that Boaz (the Strong One) remained until he could discuss the matter of redeeming Elimelech’s land with the closer relative. When the closer kinsman appeared, Boaz called for a minyan (a group of ten men required to form a public worship quorum and to settle legal questions). Then he presented to the nearest relative the terms of redemption.

Initially the closer relative agreed to redeem the land. However, when Boaz pointed out the additional condition that the redeemer had to marry Ruth and produce an heir to preserve the family line of Elimelech, the man said “no.” He refused to redeem the land. The closest kinsman “removed his shoe” to signify that he withdrew his claim due to his not wanting to dilute the value of his own inheritance. This legal transaction is called a “chalitzah.”

Messiah in Shavuot Chapter 11 >>