Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax…
for the shavuot holiday, the celebration of the children of israel receiving the torah at mt. sinai, the book of ruth is read. ruth’s tale is one of being a convert to judaism. she is celebrated for her commitment to her former mother in law, naomi, and for her determination.
“and ruth said, “do not entreat me to leave you, to return from following you, for wherever you go, i will go, and wherever you lodge, i will lodge; your people shall be my people and your god my god. where you die, i will die, and there i will be buried. so may the lord do to me and so may he continue, if anything but death separate me and you.” ruth 1: 16-17
her dedication is perhaps a quality that the master of the universe found favor. this quality most likely passed down to her descendants. one of them was chosen and became a most important figure in the bible; david son of jesse; king david.
in modern times, the cult film, the big lebowski, included a convert to judaism. the character, walter sobchack, played by the great actor john goodman, offered up a twisted tale of ruth.
mr. sobchack’s conversion to judaism appeared to have been connected to his marriage to a jewish woman. despite a divorce, he remained committed to the religion. he famously was committed to being “shomer shabbas,” i.e. sabbath observant, and made it a point that he didn’t roll (bowl) on the sabbath.
while mr. sobchack. while he admittedly maintained a relationship with his ex-wife, is could not be denied that he was committed to following god. unlike ruth, who was tied to naomi, mr. sobchak, free from his marriage, maintains a commitment to his adopted religion and people. he arguably stands for the proposition “no matter how my relations go, i am committed to my god and my people?” this assertion is poignant in a modern society in which divorce is commonplace. what happens to one’s adopted religious beliefs when a marriage falls apart?
did the creators of the big lebowski, coen brothers, intend to address this issue? perhaps the coen brothers could write and make movie about it; “the book of walter sobchak”?
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