Ruth's Conversion as Moabite?
I have a question about the Book of Ruth. As a Moabite, why was Ruth allowed to convert to Judaism, given the biblical injunction against accepting converts from the Moabite nation?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
Excellent question! Actually, Ruth's descendant – the illustrious King David – was hassled by some people claiming that Ruth's conversion was controversial. She was from the nation of Moab, and the Torah proclaims that due to their historic cruelty toward the Jewish people, a Moabite is not permitted to convert (Deut. 23:4).
However, upon closer inspection we see that the Torah was precise in writing the word "Moabite" in the masculine form, indicating that only Moabite males are forbidden to convert, but Moabite females are allowed to convert.
Initially her name was Gilith, but she changed it to Ruth when she got married. The Hebrew name Rut (for Ruth) spelled backwards is "tur" which means dove. A dove is a bird that is allowed to be offered on the altar – symbolizing that Ruth was permitted to enter the Jewish people.
(source: Talmud – Yevamot 77a; Zohar Chadash – Ruth 78a)