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Scrolls of LoveRuth and the Song of Songs$
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Peter S. Hawkins and Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberg

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225712

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823225712.001.0001

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(p.110) Ruth
Scrolls of Love

Roza Yakubovitsh

Fordham University Press

These poems present the story of Ruth in the form of a dialogue between Ruth and Boaz on the threshing floor of a barn that could as easily stand in the Polish countryside as on the outskirts of ancient Bethlehem. The first poem allows Boaz indirect authority through Ruth's account of her response to him, but diminishes the authority of Naomi. The second poem is set in an Eastern European landscape, where, along with the biblical characters, the trees, the river, and the wind speak Yiddish. The poem's themes of restlessness, insomnia, indecision, and leave-taking show how the author avoids the certainty of the biblical Ruth, who successfully crosses over from her home in Moab to Naomi's in Bethlehem and from her Gentile origins to her adoptive religion and people. Instead, he focuses on Naomi, the displaced Jew, and Orpah, who returns to her Gentile home.

Keywords:   Ruth, Boaz, Naomi, authority, restlessness, insomnia, Bethlehem, Orpah

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