Two times they hold firm; on the third Orpah weakens and returns. She continues with her mother-in-law along the way to the Holy Land.

We have a natural drive to make something of ourselves, to achieve immortality.

God gave Israel the Torah to enable us to direct those drives.

She was one of so many “almosts” throughout history – people who strove for greatness and immortality but who failed to hang on, instead fading into anonymity.

But our Sages tell us about a fascinating postscript to the story of Orpah.

The Book of Ruth begins with a tale of famine in the Holy Land.

Elimelech of Bethlehem departs the country for Moab, taking his wife Naomi and their two sons along. His wife and sons stay on, and the sons marry non-Jewish women – Moabite princesses by the names of Ruth and Orpah.

The commandments of the Torah are not simply acts to perform, ways of earning heavenly reward.

They are a means of developing ourselves, of directing our drive to achieve towards spirituality and perfecting the world.

She just fell slightly short of an all-out conversion. As soon as Orpah parted company with Naomi and Ruth, she went to the absolute opposite extreme.

Naomi refers to her as having returned to "her people and her gods" ().

Orpah, by contrast, disappears from the story and is forgotten.