Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ruth Readings

This past shabbos we read how Naomi tried to discourage her daughter-in-law Ruth from converting. Naomi tells her:

טו וַתֹּאמֶר, הִנֵּה שָׁבָה יְבִמְתֵּךְ, אֶל-עַמָּהּ, וְאֶל-אֱלֹהֶיהָ; שׁוּבִי, אַחֲרֵי יְבִמְתֵּךְ.

And she said: 'Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her god; return thou after thy sister-in-law.

Now there is a well known halacha that we must discourage converts and only after much persistence on their part may we accept them. But Naomi seems to take this much further than one would expect. She seems to be advising her daughter-in-law to return to her avodah zara. How could she do that? A Jew cannot encourage a non Jew to worship avoda zara.

Any ideas?