The Book of Ruth tells one of the Hebrew Bible’s most beautiful and beloved stories—chronicling how a childless widow from a foreign land rises to become the ancestress of Israel’s greatest king. But as Dr. Leon Kass and his coauthor (and granddaughter) Hannah Mandelbaum demonstrate in their new book, Reading Ruth: Birth, Redemption, and the Way of Israel, this ancient tale is about far more than one woman’s rise from misery to glory. It sheds light on some enduring questions of human life: the meaning of national identity, female friendship, marital love, the importance of attachment to the land, and, especially, the redemptive powers for human life of childbirth and loyal devotion.
In this wonderful conversation, recorded ahead of the Shavuot holiday, Dr. Kass joins Mosaic Editor and Tikvah Senior Director Jonathan Silver to guide us through the Book of Ruth. He shares some of the key insights of his book and helps us achieve a deeper understanding of the Hebrew Bible’s wisdom about love, loyalty, family, procreation, mortality, and more.