Friday, March 5, 2010


ץ צ
Words ending with tsade are not uncommon. Land or earth is present with us even as a 'borrowed' word in English in the phrase 'eretz Israel'. This letter has a formative potential in the sound of the story. It is repeated in some significant words. The anticipation of the 'ts' is in chapter 1, but it is the major sound of chapter 2 and after the first few verses of chapter 3 it ceases till the mention of Perez in chapter 4. I have not heard this in any reading I have heard but I am convinced it should be there. The reading at Mechon-Mamre is a little too monochromatic for my taste. Maybe some day I will record it in Hebrew. (but not for a while I assure you)

Here is the trailing 'ts' in the first verse, Ruth 1:1. I will leave the greening of the grammatical letters to you.

וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ
and there was a famine in the land.
Again in Ruth 1:7,
לָשׁוּב אֶל-אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה
to return to the land of Judah
and twice more in Ruth 2:10 - a related form
וַתִּשְׁתַּחוּ אָרְצָה
and bowed down to the earth
and Ruth 2:11
וְאֶרֶץ מוֹלַדְתֵּךְ
the land of your birth
Ruth 2:15 has another unique word - dipping in vinegar. This story lends itself to allegory. Do you think it will be revealed to me? Maybe I am old enough now not to consume the knowledge foolishly.
וְטָבַלְתְּ פִּתֵּךְ בַּחֹמֶץ
and dip your piece in the vinegar

Ruth 3:13 has the letter again in an allegorically significant word. When we get back to real story, we will hear it.
וְאִם-לֹא יַחְפֹּץ לְגָאֳלֵךְ
and if he is not pleased to redeem you

also 3 times in the proper name פָּרֶץ

There is only one word beginning with tsade in Ruth
Ruth 2:9
הֲלוֹא צִוִּיתִי אֶת-הַנְּעָרִים לְבִלְתִּי נָגְעֵךְ
have I not commanded the lads not to touch you
Ruth 2:15
וַיְצַו בֹּעַז אֶת-נְעָרָיו לֵאמֹר
and Boaz commanded his lads

Used again in Ruth 3:6 
אֲשֶׁר-צִוַּתָּה חֲמוֹתָהּ
as her mother-in-law commanded

There are a number of words that contain the sound, some of them key repetitions or concepts in the tale.
Ruth 1:7, 1:13, 2:18, 2:22 come out
וַתֵּצֵא מִן-הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה-שָּׁמָּה
and she came out from the place where she was
Ruth 1:9, 2:2, 2:10, 2:13 find
וּמְצֶאןָ מְנוּחָה
may you find rest
Ruth 1:18 (once only, also the last letter of this root, אָמֵץ)
וַתֵּרֶא כִּי-מִתְאַמֶּצֶת הִיא
and she saw that she was determined
Ruth 1:22, 2:21, 2:23 harvest
בִּתְחִלַּת קְצִיר שְׂעֹרִים
at the beginning of the harvest of barley
Ruth 2:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14 reapers - as with gleaning, Ruth has more of these in one place than any other book.
בַּשָּׂדֶה אַחֲרֵי הַקֹּצְרִים
in the field after the reapers
Ruth 2:5, 6 standing - a better gloss is called for
הַנִּצָּב עַל-הַקּוֹצְרִים
standing by the reapers
Ruth 2:9 thirst
וְצָמִת וְהָלַכְתְּ אֶל-הַכֵּלִים
and you thirst, and you go to the vessels
Ruth 2:14 beside and heaped - this is a key part of the story too - Boaz is smitten
וַתֵּשֶׁב מִצַּד הַקֹּצְרִים
 וַיִּצְבָּט-לָהּ קָלִי וַתֹּאכַל
and she herself sat beside the reapers
and he heaped her parched grain and she ate
Ruth 2:16 bundles
תָּשֹׁלּוּ לָהּ מִן-הַצְּבָתִים
draw out for her from the bundles
Ruth 3:3 wash
וְרָחַצְתְּ וָסַכְתְּ
so wash yourself and anoint yourself
Ruth 3:7 another preposition
וַיָּבֹא לִשְׁכַּב בִּקְצֵה הָעֲרֵמָה
and he came to lie down at the end of a heap
Ruth 3:8 and another preposition
וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה
and it was the middle of the night

Then the sound stops till we find it in proper names in the middle and at the end.
פֶּרֶץ הוֹלִיד אֶת-חֶצְרוֹן
Perez bore Hetsron

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