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KMTT - the Torah Podcast

May 13, 2021

Megilat haHessed - Ruth, Avraham and the Meaning of Hessed, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom

The Midrash identifies the purpose of the publication of Megilat Rut as "publicizing the reward for those who repay Hessed." Ruth, who is presented as a latter-day Avraham (in Boaz's words of praise for her), has her Hessed lauded by both Naomi and Boaz - but what is the meaning of "Hessed" in this context? Indeed, we would have to search high and low to find acts that we would typically consider "Hessed" in the Biblical record of Avraham's life. By examining a remarkable but often overlooked consistent marker in Avraham's biography, we discover a new meaning of the word חסד, bolstered by the way it is used in several passages in Tanakh, notably Psalm 89. We then reexamine Hessed in Avraham's life, as well as Ruth's. This shiur was given in memory of our dear friend, R. Hayyim Abba b. Natan Aryeh zt"l, Prof. Herbert Davidson of blessed memory.

Source sheet available here.