il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

Double Life – Wheat

fubiniBy Daniela Fubini*

I found myself recently in a field of wheat, during a quiet walk over the weekend. The wheat field was already partially harvested, and on the ground here and there I could see and pick up broken ears of wheat. Funny thing, I only saw them on the way back from the walk, as if they had been thrown to the ground while I was walking uphill. But no, they were there before and when I eventually saw them there where hundreds, maybe thousands.

And then it hit me: ok, this is the work of a machine, not of humans on feet, but even when the harvest was made by humans on feet they surely left quite a big amount of leftovers after they finished chopping the wheat and gathering it in bags. So the whole story with Ruth picking the leftover wheat or barley after the men of Boaz takes a completely different proportion. Suppose the wheat or barley could be enough to feed her and also Naomi. They could have lived, poor though not hungry. Then all the tricky story of Naomi who sends Ruth to sleep on Boaz feet could be unnecessary – at least from the point of view of pure survival.

That’s what happens when a good Telavivit is brought out of her natural environment made of building, cement and tayelet. Luckily, it is not until Shavuot that we read again the story of Ruth, and until now I will either forget that myself I walked through fields of wheat, or I will find an answer that makes sense on one of the strangest nights ever spent by a woman, who supposedly hugged the feet of a stranger from sunset to dawn. Note to self: next time I get out of the city, I better go walk on a beach, where I might see jellyfish or seashells with absolutely no meaning or reference to the Bible in any of its parts.

*Daniela Fubini (Twitter @d_fubini) lives and writes in Tel Aviv, where she arrived in 2008 from Turin via New York.