Torah Teasers: Book of Ruth

May 21, 2014

4 min read


Shavuot (Exodus 19:1 - 20:23 )

Tantalizing questions and challenging riddles.

1. In the Book of Ruth, where is the number 10 mentioned? (2 answers)

(1) After Machlon and Kilyon married, they dwelled in the land of Moab for 10 years. (Ruth 1:4)

(2) When Boaz wished to have the fields of Naomi redeemed, he gathered together 10 men. (Ruth 4:2)

2. In the Book of Ruth, where do we find mention of a dress?

Naomi instructed Ruth to visit Boaz at the threshing floor, but first told her to wear a dress. (Ruth 3:3)

3. What generic term for "a person" appears in the Book of Ruth? Where else is this term used to refer to an unknown place?

"Ploni Almoni" is the generic term used to refer to the relative of Naomi who should have redeemed her field and married Ruth. (Ruth 4:1)

When David was running from Shaul he found refuge in the city of Nov. David explained he is on a special mission from the king and that the men have gone to a mekom ploni almoni – “a hidden, secret place.” (1-Samuel 21:3)

4. In the Book of Ruth, in what context is a shoe mentioned?

When Boaz and the redeemer wished to transfer the responsibility of redemption, a shoe was removed in the exchange. (Ruth 4:7)

5. Aside from Naomi, Ruth and Orpah, which 3 other specific women are mentioned in the Book of Ruth?

Ruth is blessed by comparing her to the matriarchs Rachel and Leah, and to Tamar. (Ruth 4:11-12)

6. In the Book of Ruth, who kisses whom? (2 answers)

(1) Naomi kisses her two daughters-in-law before encouraging them to return to their country. (Ruth 1:9)

(2) Orpah kisses Naomi when she decides to return to her land. (Ruth 1:14)

7. In the Book of Ruth, who is referred to as gibor chayil – “A mighty man of valor”? What 4 others in the biblical Prophets are described that way?

In the Book of Ruth, Boaz is called gibor chayil. (Ruth 2:1)

In the Prophets:

  • Yiftach the judge (Judges 11:1)
  • Kish the father of King Saul (1-Samuel I 9:1)
  • Yiravam ben Nevat, the first king of the Kingdom of Israel (1-Kings 11:28)
  • Na’aman the general of Aram (2-Kings 5:1)

8. In the Book of Ruth, who is referred to as aishes chayil – “A woman of valor”? In which other biblical book does this expression appear?

Boaz calls Ruth aishes chayil (Ruth 3:11). This expression also appears in King Solomon's Book of Proverbs 12:4, 31:10.

9. In the Book of Ruth, where do two words appear in a row with the same root (shoresh)? (9 answers)

  • The events happened in the days of “shefot hashoftim” – "judging of the judges.” (Ruth 1:1)
  • Ruth decided to stay with Naomi when she said, tailchi ailech – “[where] you go, I will go.” (Ruth 1:16)
  • talini alin – “[where] you sleep, I will sleep” (Ruth 1:16)
  • amaich ami – “your nation is my nation” (Ruth 1:16)
  • Elokayich Elokai – “your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16)
  • tamuti amut – “[where] you die, I will die” (Ruth 1:17)
  • Boaz informed Ruth that hugad hugad – “It was surely told [to me]” about her deeds. (Ruth 2:11)
  • Boaz reassured Ruth that lega’alaich uge’altich – “[If the redeemer does not wish] to redeem you, then I will redeem you. (Ruth 3:13)
  • Boaz asked the redeemer tigal ge’al – “[if you want to] redeem [the field], then redeem it.” (Ruth 4:4)

10. Who mentioned in the Book of Ruth was the grandfather of a High Priest?

Aminadav, an ancestor of King David (Ruth 4:19), was also the father-in-law of Aharon the first High Priest. Aminadav was thus the grandfather of Elazar the second High Priest (Exodus (6:23).

11. In the Book of Ruth, what city is mentioned seven times? Where is this place first mentioned in the Bible?

Beit Lechem is mentioned seven times. Beit Lechem first appears in Parshat Vayishlach as the burial place of the matriarch Rachel (Genesis 35:19).

12. In the Book of Ruth, what event occurs bachatzi halayla – “at midnight”? What other two biblical events occurred at midnight?

  • At midnight, Boaz awakened to discover Ruth at the bottom of his bed. (Ruth 3:8)
  • In Egypt, the plague of the Firstborn occurred at midnight. (Exodus 12:29)
  • Samson awakened at midnight to escape from the people of Gaza who were waiting in ambush to kill him. (Judges 16:3)
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