It has long been noted that the relatively expansive Targumim of the Five Scrolls share a number of ‘significant affinities’. These similarities, the expansive nature and structure, the admonition to study Torah and continue to perform good deeds, and the expectation of the coming Messianic era, suggest that they are part of a larger agenda to remind their audiences of God’s guiding hand in Israel’s history and to promote piety. Possibly receiving their final form in the same period and in the same contexts, it seems that the festal use of the biblical texts led to their rather unique formation.
In the book of Ruth there is no doubt that the title character is a central figure. Targum Ruth re-presents her as the Rabbinic proselyte par excellence. This is accomplished primarily through additions to 1:16–7. But Ruth’s status as the ideal convert is also confirmed thorough Boaz’s announcement that she would be “saved from the judgment of Gehenna so that [her] portion may be with Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel and Leah” (TgRuth 2:12) and that she is “a righteous woman and there is in [her] strength to bear the yoke of the commandments of the LORD” (TgRuth 3:11). Examining these and other changes to the biblical text introduced by the Targumist, this article demonstrates how, in the Targum, Ruth becomes not just an admirable woman who acts out of kindness to her mother-in-law but is truly the Rabbinic exemplar for all converts.
This volume is a study of how Targum Lamentations (TgLam) interpreted and responded to the theologically challenging message of the Book of Lamentations. Through various exegetical techniques the targumist has transformed Lamentations into a rabbinic program for the synagogue.
The first section examines how the targumist demonstrated that Israel herself is responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem and thus absolves God of all culpability. Yet the targumist continues to assert that God is the ultimate source of all history. The second section examines how the targumist depicts God as orchestrating events through his action and abstention. Finally, the targum argues that reconciliation with God can only come about through repentance and rabbinic worship.
A new translation and a transcription of TgLam from Codex Urbinas Hebr. 1 is included.