Saturday, December 26, 2009

On Christmas Day: the Undisputed Connectivity

Nurit Greenger

December 25, 2009


The Jewish religion is the cradle of all monotheistic religions; the more we know it, the better we are equipped to fight all those who are relentlessly attempting to strip the Jewish Nation of its true history and revise it to suit their own ideology and achieve their goals.

While Naomi is the central character in the Old Testament Scroll of Ruth (Megillat Ruth), Ruth is the main character.During the time, known in the Old Testament as the Judges’ period, harsh famine stoke the land and an Israelite family from Bethlehem—Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion,—emigrated to the nearby country of Moab. Subsequently Elimelech died, and his sons married two Moabite women: Mahlon married Ruth and Chilion married Orpah.

Naomi’s two sons also died and Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. She told her daughters-in-law to return to their own mothers, and remarry. Orpah, though reluctantly, left. Ruth however, said, "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me." (The Book of Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV)

Naomi with her Moabite daughter-in-law returned to Bethlehem. It was barley harvest season and in order to support her mother-in-law and herself, Ruth went to the fields to glean. (Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system. For example, ancient Jewish communities required that farmers not reap all the way to the edges of a field so as to leave some for the poor and for strangers). The field she chose to glean at belonged to a man named Boaz, who was kind to her because he has heard of her loyalty to her mother-in-law. Ruth told her mother-in-law of Boaz's kindness, and she continued gleaning in his field through the remainder of the harvest season.

Boaz was a close relative of Naomi's late husband Elimelech's family. By the Levirate law he was therefore obliged (In a Levirate marriage—term is a derivative of the Latin word levir, meaning "husband's brother"—a woman is required to marry her deceased husband's brother. Levirate marriage has been practiced by societies with a strong clan structure and it is or was known in societies around the world) to marry Mahlon's widow, Ruth, in order to carry on his family line. Naomi sent Ruth to the threshing floor at night telling her to "uncover the feet" of the sleeping Boaz. Ruth did, Boaz woke up, and Ruth reminded him that he was "the one with the right to redeem her." Boaz stated he is willing to "redeem" Ruth via marriage, but informed Ruth that there was another male relative who had the first right of redemption.

The next morning, Boaz discussed the issue with the other male relative before the town elders. The other male relative was unwilling to jeopardize the inheritance of his own estate by marrying Ruth, and so he relinquished his right of redemption, thus allowed Boaz to marry Ruth.

Boaz and Ruth got married and had a son named Obed (who, by Levirate customs is also considered a son or heir to Mahlon, and thus Naomi's grandson). In the genealogy which concludes the story, Obed was the descendant of Perez the son of Judah, and the grandfather of King David.

David's life is particularly important to Jewish and Christian culture. Also to Muslims.

And why? The connectivity is obvious.

Both King David and Jesus were born in Bethlehem. In Hebrew, the name bêth lehem, means the house of bread. This ancient biblical name has survived till present day. The Prophet Samuel anointed David King in Bethlehem (I Sam. 16:1-13)

According to Scroll of Ruth 4:18-22, King David is the tenth generation descendant from Judah, the fourth son of the patriarch Jacob (Later named Israel). The genealogical line runs as follows: Judah → Pharez → Hezron → Ram → Amminadab → Nahshon → Salmon → Boaz (the husband of Ruth) → Obed (the son of Ruth and Boaz) → Jesse (the Son of Obed, the son of Ruth and Boaz ) → King David.

King David was born in Bethlehem, in the territory of the Tribe of Judah (Yehuda-Judea an area in the State of Israel is named after Judah). King David’s father name was Jesse and his mother’s name is not mentioned in the Bible. The Talmud (The central text of mainstream Judaism, in the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history) identifies King David’s mother as Nitzevet, the daughter of Adael. King David had seven brothers and was the youngest of them all.

King David had eight wives who bore him seven sons: Michal-the second daughter of King Saul, Achinoam the Jezreelite-son Amnon, Abigail the Carmelite-previously wife of Nabal-son Daniel, Maachah-daughter of Talmai-king of Geshur-son Avshalom, Haggith-son Adonijah, Abital-son Shephatiah, Eglah-son Ithream and Bathsheba-previously the wife of Uriah the Hittite-son Solomon (later to become King Solomon). Kind David had other sons born in Jerusalem by other wives included: Ibhar; Elishua; Eliphelet; Nogah; Nepheg; Japhia; Elishama; and Eliada. (2 Samuel 5:14-16).

Jonathan was the son of Saul, king of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, the heir to his father’s throne. David was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem and Jonathan's presumed rival for the crown. Eventually David became The King of Israel. According to 2 Samuel 9:11, David adopted Johnathan's son Mephibosheth as his own. David also had at least one daughter, Tamar by Maachah.

King David's reign represents the formation of a coherent and united Jewish Kingdom of Israel centered in Jerusalem and the institution of an eternal Jewish royal dynasty. The failure of this "eternal" Davidic dynasty after some four centuries led to the later elaboration of the concept of the Messiah, at first a human descendant of David who would occupy the throne of a restored kingdom, later an apocalyptic figure who would usher in the end of time.

In modern Judaism David's descent from a convert, Ruth, is taken as proof of the importance of converts within Judaism. According to the Talmud Yerushalmi, king David was born and died on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, Feast of Weeks. His piety was said to be so great that his prayers could bring down things from Heaven.

Many legends have grown around the figure of King David. He is known to be a military hero and a great poet.

The Star of David or Shield of David (Magen David), a six-pointed star (geometrically, hexagram), made of two interlocking triangles, is named after King David of ancient Israel. Its earliest known communal usage began in the Middle Ages, alongside the more ancient symbol of the menorah. The King David Star six-points symbolize God's rule over the universe in all six directions: north, south, east, west, up and down. It acknowledges that King David did not win his wars by his own might, but by the support of the Almighty.

With the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 the Star of David on the Flag of Israel has also become a symbol of Israel and has become associated with the Zionist movement.


Each year on December 25th Christians celebrate Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus and therefore a holy site to Christians around the world. Tradition says that Jesus’ birth place was in cave over which the Basilica of the Nativity was built in Bethlehem.

The New Testament traces the genealogy of Jesus back to King David and Abraham, with three blocks of fourteen "generations" each being similarly schematic. In the ancient world each letter of the alphabet had a numerical value, the value for the name "David" being fourteen: the fourteen "generations" thus underscored Christ's Davidic descent and his identity as the expected Messiah.


(King) David (Arabic Dawood, or Dawoud) is one of the prophets of Islam, to whom the Zabur (Psalms) were revealed by God. The Islamic tradition includes many elements from the Jewish history of David, such as his battle with the giant Goliath, but rejects the Biblical portrayal of David as an adulterer and murderer, a rejection based on the infallibility of the prophets.

King David appears in the Qur'an. He also appears in various Hadith, the oral traditions derived from those who knew the Prophet Muhammad. God's Apostle, Muhammad said, that the most beloved fasting to God was the fasting of the Prophet David who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to God was the prayer of David who used to sleep for the first half of the night and pray for 1/3 of it and again sleep for a sixth of it. King David was also given the most beautiful voice of all mankind, just as Joseph was given the most beautiful appearance. One hadith relates that King David's reading of psalms was so entrancing that fish would leave the sea to listen when he recited, and that it was he who began the building of the Holy Temple, completed by his son Solomon, and which later “became” the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

And so the story goes on and those who do not know the facts will continue believing in fallacies about the Jewish people undisputable connection to their ancient Homeland in the ancient land of Judea-Yehuda and Samaria-Shomron and their Temple in Jerusalem all to serve their ultimate goal to destroy the State of Israel and to kill more Jews.

Jews and Judaism is no threat to anyone. Nobody should begrudge any believer the joy of his or her faith. The truth about the Jews, the Jewish Nation’s ancient history and its Homeland and the Jewish faith lies with the Jewish Nation only.


The Washington Times
Friday, December 25, 2009
EDITORIAL: The house that Ruth built


A Christmas welcome for all

Although the young woman was a stranger to Bethlehem, she arrived there in the company of a Bethlehem native. The residents did not know what to make of her and did not have room for her at first. But they recognized that her heart was pure - "a woman of noble character" - and treated her kindly.

A very wise man came to her and, speaking to her, praised her for "how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord." So, "the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son," a child of the lineage of David, a child whom observers immediately predicted would "become famous throughout Israel."

This story sounds like the one oft cited on this day and in this season, but it is not the traditional story Christians celebrate. Instead, it is the story from the Old Testament's Book of Ruth. And there is a lesson in the thematic echoes from Ruth to the Gospel of St. Luke and back again, echoes that Christians say are sounded also in Micah and Isaiah, echoes that reverberate through the many centuries to grace our ears today. It is a multifaceted lesson about hospitality, about graciousness, trust and the rewards of faithfulness - and about the promise inherent in new life.

The truth is that, thematically if not theologically, the message of Christmas is a universal message, a message fully in tune with the sacred texts and traditions held in common by three of the world's largest religions and not incompatible with tenets of a fourth. Particularly for Jews and Christians, the message is shared: As the Christmas story is presaged in Ruth (and Micah and Isaiah), so too is the promise of redemption offered (in the "Song of Simeon" in Luke 2) both as "a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." Both/and, not either/or. The door is open for all to walk through.

Jews do not think Jesus was the Savior; Christians do. Most would not suggest that anyone other than Christians should celebrate a specifically Christian holiday. Christians believe that at Christmas, their Lord was made manifest on this Earth - and that belief rightly brings great joy. But what is legitimately universal is the notion that what is offered at Christmas is an invitation to all, not an exclusiveness that rejects and divides. Good will is offered to all whose own hearts contain good will.

As in the Bethlehem manger and as in the Bethlehem of Ruth, welcome is offered to the stranger, succor offered to the bereft. What Christians celebrate is no threat to anybody else, no abomination to be shunted aside from polite company or the public square. Nobody should begrudge Christians their holiday of joy. To rejoice or not is one's individual choice. But as for us, we say, "Rejoice."

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