Journeys into Justice - Evening Salon
1 א

If there is a needy person among you, one of your kinsmen in any of your settlements in the land that Adonai your God is giving you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kinsman. Rather, you must open your hand and lend him sufficient for whatever he needs... For there will never cease to be needy ones in your land, which is why I command you: open your hand to the poor and needy kinsman in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:7, 8, 11)

2 ב

Whoever is able to protest against the wrongdoings of his family and fails to do so is punished for the family's wrongdoings. Whoever is able to protest against the wrongdoings of his fellow citizens and does not do so is punished for the wrongdoings of the people of his city. Whoever is able to protest against the wrongdoings of the world and does not do so is punished for the wrongdoings of the world. (Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 54b)

3 ג

“Will You sweep away the innocent along with the guilty? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the innocent as well as the guilty, so that innocent and guilty fare alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Genesis 18:23, 25)

4 ד

Ben Azai said, "This is the record of Adam's line. [When God created human, God made him in the likeness of God; male and female God created them]" (Genesis 5:1-2). This is a KLAL GADOL, a great principle in the Torah. Rabbi Akiva said: "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). This is a great principle of the Torah, for one should not say that since I have been shamed, let my fellow person be shamed with me; since I have been disgraced, let my fellow person be disgraced with me. Rabbi Tanhuma said: "If you did so, know whom you are shaming, for 'God made the human in the likeness of God.' (Genesis Rabbah 24:7)

5 ה

Rabbi Hama, son of Rabbi Hanina, said: "What is the meaning of the verse, 'You shall walk behind Adonai your God' (Deut. 13:5)? ... [It means that a person should imitate the righteous ways of the Blessed Holy One. Just as God clothed the naked*, ... so too you must supply clothes for the naked [poor]. Just as the Blessed Holy One visited the sick*, .... so too you should visit the sick. Just as the Blessed Holy One buried the dead*, ... so too you must bury the dead. Just as the Blessed One One comforted mourners*, .... so too you should comfort mourners. (Talmud Bavli, Sotah 14a)

*clothed the naked = made garments for Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden

*visited the sick = 3 angels appeared to Abraham at his tent as he recovered from his circumcision

*buried the dead = only God knows where Moses is buried in the land of Moav

* comforted mourners = God blessed Isaac with a wife and wealth after his Abraham died

7 ז

מרות וערפה יש ללמוד כחם של מעשים קטנים

והנה אנו רואים שכל השנים שרות וערפה חיו עם נעמי לא היה ניכר שום הבדל ביניהם. שתיהן בחרו להנשא ליהודים, ובזה ניכר שרצו להתקרב ליהדות. וגם עכשיו בכו שתי האחיות ביחד, שלא רצו לעזוב את נעמי. אלא שערפה היתה לה קצת חלישות הלב ולא אזרה כח ללכת עם נעמי לארץ ישראל. ערפה נשקה לחמותה ועזבה אותה וחזרה לדרכי הגוים. אבל רות נשארה שם, דבוקה לחמותה, ונכנסה תחת כנפי השכינה. רות היתה לה האומץ ורצון הלב להשאר עם נעמי, כמו שכתוב אח"כ, "ותרא כי מתאמצת היא ללכת אתה".

(ט) מכל זה מבואר שמעשים קטנים יכולים לגרום תוצאות גדולות, שרות וערפה היו דומות זו לזו כל כך, אלא שהבדל קטן בכחות נפשם גרם שמרות יצא דוד המלך, ומערפה יצא גלית.

From Ruth and Orpah one can learn the power of small actions.

...and [from Naomi's urging her two daughters-in-law to return to their homes] we see that we see that all the years that Ruth and Orpah lived with Naomi, no difference was noticeable between them. Both of them chose to marry Jews, and through this is was clear that they wanted to come close to Judaism. And also now, both sisters cried together that they did not want to leave Naomi. But Orpah was slightly weak of heart, and did not have the strength to go with Naomi to the land of Israel. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and left her and returned to the ways of non-Jews. But Ruth stayed there, connected to her mother-in-law, and entered under the wings of the divine presence. Ruth had the strength and will of heart to stay with Naomi, as it says later, "And she saw that she was determined to go with her."

From all this it is explained that small actions can have great outcomes, because Ruth and Orpah were so similar to each other, but this small difference in the strength of their spirits caused that Ruth would produce King David, and Orpah would produce Goliath.