Sunday, 3 June 2012

Ruth, Geirut, Yibbum, A Proprosed Answer

NishmaBlog: Ruth, Geirut, Yibbum, Questions


We often presume current Halachah equates to ancient Halachah, but this is not always the case.

EG Erusin used to precede Nissu'in by about a year.

Here, too we may be witness to a drawn out "two step" process

Step 1.
This was a Conditional and Revocable Conversion [Gerut]
Ruth and Orpah were valid but temporary Giyorot with the right to return to their original status.

Similar to a Ger Katan or to a K'tanah who has been married
off by her mother or brothers. Both have a right of revocation when they come of age.

Step 2.
This is the joining of Am Yisroel permanently. While Orpah did a form of "Mi'un" by returning to Mo'ab, while Ruth accepted Israel and Hashem permanently. Apparently by doing so, she became a valid wife to Machlon and was entitled to a form of Yibbum

Possibly Ploni Almoni was concerned that Ruth still had the right of revocation - hence he expressed concen: "pen ashchit nachalati" OTOH Bo'az either realized that this was either not Halachically possible, or even if possible, that Ruth's commitment was irrevocable anyway.

Shalom and Regards,


micha berger said...

Your EG doesn't reflect a change of halakhah. The length of eirusin is minhag, or perhaps even just a non-certified norm. If someone then had decided to follow eiruvin with nissuin minutes apart, or someone today decided to wait a year, would anything actually be violated?

In any case, you have me wondering.... If the husband dies before the wife reaches puberty, does yibum apply? If so, can it simply be that Orpa and Rus were indeed child brides, converted as per today's pesaq?

micha berger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Your suggestion would certainly solve these problems. And it is also true that "We often presume current Halachah equates to ancient Halachah, but this is not always the case."

However, in cases where ancient halacha differs from current halacha, it's usually not difficult to figure out the differences. For example, there was no problem of yichud between Boaz and Ruth because David Hamelech had not yet instituted the d'Rabanan of yichud with a p'nuyah.

Therefore, my question is: Other than by a katan, I have never heard of a Conditional Gerus or a Revocable Gerus. Have you?

Micha's suggestion that Orpah and Ruth were actually ketanot (who converted and then married Machlon and Kilyon at such a very young age) is also very intriguing. But in addition to his own question about yibum, I am uncomfortable about Naomi's URGING Orpah and Ruth to return to avodah zara. I accept that they have they right to revoke the gerus, but I'm uncomfortable the about Naomi's urging it. Especially since it would mean that they would have been retroactively non-Jewish the whole time.

It is difficult for me to imagine a modern-day parent, who raised a converted child in such a manner, to then urge that child to part ways. It is one thing for Naomi to tell fully adult daughters-in-law, that life in Eretz Yisrael will be difficult and that they'd be better off going back. It is a far different thing to tell that to the children who she raised for ten years.