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Not Taking Yes Or No As An Answer

[additional-authors]
May 12, 2021
Bible 1873 – Ruth and Naomi (Campwillowlake/Getty Images)
Not taking yes as answer, Naomi
was teaching Ruth how to be Jewish. Jews
with strangers feel great solidarity,
but aren’t enthusiastic when they choose
to join a people who were so unwilling
to accept the Torah that God had
to threaten that Mount Sinai would be killing
them all if they refused. They were not glad
when offered Ten Commandments. “Far too many!”
they must have thought, but didn’t have a choice.


Each one of them came with a catch, catchpenny,
but they were not allowed by God to voice
dissent. Why then should strangers want to join
the Jews, considering that even those
genetically connected to Abe’s groin
were threatened by the mountain He’d bulldoze
on them unless they all converted? He
demanded Jews’ conversion, treating “No”’ as
no less acceptable than Ruth, who thus would be,
though coming from left field, the wife of Boaz,
and ancestress of David who acquired
Jerusalem, establishing a dyn-
asty which till today has not yet sired
a messiah promised from his line.

 

God’s refusal to take no for an answer when offering the Torah to the Israelites can be read in the story recorded in the Babylonian Talmud, Sabbath 88a. God threatened to cover them with Mount Sinai if they refused.


Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976.  Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored “Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel.” He can be reached at gershonhepner@gmail.com.

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