The Tanak offers a multifaceted and often contrasting portrait of migration. For example, while in some texts the aliens are presented as a threat to fear, in others they represent one of the categories of the poor (widow, orphan, foreign) to protect and welcome (Lev 23:22; Deut 14:29; Jer 7:6). The variety of terminology indicates a complex social stratification and suggests a journey from “foreignness” to “integration.” Finally, while migration to the land of Israel is presented as synonymous with a journey of identity construction and faith, migration from the land of Israel represents a journey of self-destruction, slavery, and death. Against this background, this article examines the relationship between Israel and the “alien” as portrayed in the book of Ruth, employing rabbinic and pragmatic readings. The book is considered the result of the debate generated in Israel in the postexilic era, documented in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Jonah, about the relationship between the Jewish identity, obtained by election, and “otherness.” The article’s hypothesis is that the book of Ruth enters paradoxically in this debate, inviting its reader to the reception and the inclusion of the foreigner.

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