by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Can you please explain to me how Elimelech’s sons married non-Jewish women? (Megilat Ruth)
You have asked a good question, but I will ask you an even better one. How could Eli the High Priest’s sons have done what they are accused of doing?[i] They were (apparently) taking the women who were coming to the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) to make offerings, and they were using them for their own animal purposes. Elimelech was a great man. He was the gadol hador, (the Torah leader of the generation) but Eli was greater. He was the High Priest and teacher of Shmuel the Prophet. Also, Eli and his sons were right there in the Mishkandoing what they were doing and not way out there in Moab as were Elimelech’s sons!
What’s the point? Being born into a great family gives a person a great advantage. It gives him or her, a wonderful opportunity to become a great person, and to accomplish wonderful things in this world. And then, after this lifetime is over, to go on to an even more wondrous share in the World to Come.
But being born into a great family also gives that child the opportunity to do more evil than a person born into lower circumstances.
Being born to a great person is no guarantee that that child will grow up and also become a great person. Although this child had all of these advantages, still, each of us makes our own decisions. Each of us chooses how we live, and each of us makes our own share in the World to Come.
[i] 1 Samuel 3:13