What every BY girl knows. . .

From about the time they are kindergarten, BY girls are taught the midrash about Ruth's exemplary tznius. The source is Shabbos 113b. But it is actually only the second suggestion. The first one points out Ruth's outstanding midda as chochma. Here's the Talmudic analysis on Boaz's aking about the young girl he sees: "Is is it the manner of Boaz to ask about a young girl? [the pas nisht is implicit here] R' Elazar explains that he saw a "davar chochma" in her, two stalk she would gather, but three she would leave [in compliance with the laws of leket]. In a collection (of teachings) is was taught – He saw "davar tznius" in her. She picked standing stalks in an upright posture but she sat down to pick up the fallen ones [she did not bend down to take on a position that may be seen as lacking in modesty].
Of course this is the source for Rashi's comment on that verse of Ruth 2: 5
, but, intersetingly, he reverse the order and mentions tznius before chochma. And in the further simplified commentary offered to young girls, the chochma seems to get lost altogether. Knowledge is not stressed in the lessons to little girls about heroine-like behavior, though it should be, as it really refers to knowledge of halacha. And ignorance of halacha leads to violation of halacha. In fact, what Naomi was supposed to have taught Ruth along the way to Israel was halacha.


Chaim B. said…
I didn't look at the Rashi text, but it could be that the order of the comments in Rashi is reversed because the first approach he quotes is closer to pshuto shel mikra than the second (why that is so I haven't figured out yet). The gemara is not concerned with pshuto shel mikra and may be more concerned with which statement is more authoritative based on mesorah (esp since the first is associated with a specific amora and the second is an anonymous teaching.) Just speculating...

>>>[the pas nisht is implicit here]

So the real lesson is the tzniyus of Boaz, not Rus! Anyway, take a look at Rashi in Shabbos who writes that it was inconceivable that Boaz would say hello to all na'aros as that would be an issur of histaklus. I am not sure what Rashi means. Is there an issur histaklus in looking at a female to say hello (!), or does Rashi mean that someone who says hello to every single female he encounters is guilty of histaklus.
I take pride in operating the http://www.simchawear.com website with the utmost of tznius (modesty). When people post a dress for sale or rent, I will remove the hands and face. Call me crazy, but this is a crazy world and you've got to fit in.

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