Ki Tetze 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 15th, 2021

Deut. 25:5   When brothers dwell together and one of them dies and leaves no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married to a stranger, outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall unite with her: he shall take her as his wife and perform the levir’s duty.

What exactly is a “levir’s” duty?  Someone in the book of Ruth (who shall remain nameless) is about to find out.

This week’s handout: 49 Ki Tetze 5781

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One Response to “Ki Tetze 5781”

  1. Justin K Miller Says:


    What a great podcast!

    You point out that Ruth 4:13-17 is an example of a world described from a feminine perspective, and say, “What is important is that Naomi is being saved from childlessness.” Among the feminine voices I hear speaking in this passage is the voice of Eve, from another story set 30 generations earlier, involving a feminine voice and childlessness. When Eve gives birth to Seth after the death of Abel, she says: “וַיֵּדַע אָדָם עוֹד, אֶת-אִשְׁתּוֹ, וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן, וַתִּקְרָא אֶת-שְׁמוֹ שֵׁת: כִּי שָׁת-לִי אֱלֹהִים, זֶרַע אַחֵר–תַּחַת הֶבֶל, כִּי הֲרָגוֹ קָיִן.” (Gen. 4:25) Eve’s statement – and the name she gives to her son Seth – is recalled in Boaz’s act of placing barley seed in Naomi’s mantle in Ruth 3:15: “וַיָּמָד שֵׁשׁ-שְׂעֹרִים וַיָּשֶׁת עָלֶיהָ”. The seed symbolically placed by Boaz in Naomi’s mantle, after it ripens into a son, is then adopted by Naomi when she places the child in her lap, with words that again recall Eve’s statement from Genesis 4:25: “וַתִּקַּח נָעֳמִי אֶת-הַיֶּלֶד וַתְּשִׁתֵהוּ בְחֵיקָהּ” (Ruth 4:15)


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