Old Testament Summary Lesson 20: “All the City… “Doth Know That Thou Art a Virtuous Woman”
- Few Women Revered in Jewish Thought: Ruth is one of them. A woman convert to Judaism is given or “takes upon herself” a “New Name,” usually that of Ruth or another of the righteous women of the Bible. “The sages regarded Ruth as the prototype of the righteous convert. They taught that Elimelech and his sons were punished for going to Moab during the famine in Judah. They should have remained to share the hardships of their own people . . . Ruth on the other hand left her home not to seek an easier life, but to devote herself to the God of Israel, and to share the fortunes of Naomi and her people, whatever they were destined to be.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Righteous Gentiles: “The concept of the righteous gentile (hasidei ummot ha-olam — the pious ones of the nations of the world) is first found in the Midrash. The Tosefta teaches that they are as eligible to a place in the hereafter as any member of the House of Israel. “According to Maimonides righteous gentiles were those who observed the Noachide laws and were motivated by belief in the divine origin and authenticity of Moses’ prophecy, and not merely by the reasonableness of the laws, in which case they were considered simply wise men but not hasidei ummot ha-olam. Since World War II the concept of the righteous gentile has been used to refer to those non-Jews who helped Jews escape the persecutions of Nazism.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) At Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, there is an avenue of planted trees. Each one is dedicated to a “Righteous Gentile.” There is one planted in memory of a Dutch Latter-day Saint who helped Jews escape in Nazi occupied Europe. However, the Latter-day Saint is a member of the House of Israel, not a gentile! (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Mormons and Gentiles: One of the Israeli travel agents once commented to a prospective traveler to the USA, “You’ve got to visit Salt Lake City, that’s the only place a Jew can walk down the street and feel like a gentile!” Of course, this needs correction. Latter-day Saints know they are a part of the House of Israel, in large part from the tribe of Joseph.
- Latter-day Messiahs: “According to the Talmud, the Messiah will be a descendant of the House of David and will be preceded by a secondary Messiah, from the House of Joseph.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) There is a Jewish tradition that the Messiah’s return will reflect either the date or event of the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Joseph Smith’s mission was to restore temple worship. Eventually, the “Lord will suddenly come to his Temple (Malachi 3:1).”
- Sins Fastened In a Sure Place: Isaiah portrays the same principle when he describes the “glory” fastened in a “sure place.” It is a glory that we can bring our troubles (sins) to the Lord, at his house, and leave with greater blessings than we ever imagined. (Isaiah 22:21-25) In Jerusalem, there have been thousands of nails pounded into the old Western (Wailing) Wall, a remnant of the last known Jewish Temple. They remind us of a practice the Jews had until about a hundred years ago. They would “nail their sins in a sure place” and then get on with life. A glorious thought!