הוא מוצאת והיא שׁלחה אל־חמיה לאמר לאישׁ אשׁר־אלה לו אנכי הרה ותאמר הכר־נא למי החתמת והפתילים והמטה האלה׃
About three months later Y'hudah was told, "Tamar your daughter-in-law has been acting like a whore; moreover, she is pregnant as a result of her prostitution." Y'hudah said, "Bring her out, and let her be burned alive!" When she was brought out, she sent this message to her father-in-law: "I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong. Determine, I beg you, whose these are -- the signet, the cords and the staff." (Gen 38:24-25)
Tamar did not want to publicly shame Yehudah, so she only said "By the man whose these are . . . ", rather than "Yehudah is the father". Rabbi' Yonah writes that these words teach us that one should rather put his life at risk rather than publicly shaming another.
In Eastern Europe it was the job of the shamash to tend to the synagogue's oven early every morning during the freezing winters. Thus when people came at daybreak to recite T'hilim [Psalms] or to study before prayer, they found the place warm. In a certain synagogue the shamash would rely on the out-of-town beggars who normally arrived during the night, to light the oven. But many times the beggars would not show up, and the synagogue would be freezing in the morning. people began to complain. Then all the complaints stopped; the oven was fire-hot every morning. people thought the shamash was doing a good job , and the shamash took it for granted that the beggars were tending the oven. No one suspected that the rabbi of Baranovitch, Rabbi Israel Yaakov Lubchanski, was the one doing the job every morning.
Early one morning the wood happened to be particularly wet., so that it required a lot of blowing to get a fire going. With his head in the oven door, Rav Israel Yaakov was blowing upon the fire when the shamamsh walked in. In the darkness of the winter dawn, he did not recognize the Rabbi. Sure that one of the beggars was tending the oven, the shamash, in a 'joking' manner gave the man a kick. Rabbi Lubchanski knew that if he took his head out of the oven, the shamash would be terribly embarrassed. So he pushed his face deeper into the oven. The smoke was burning hie eyes and choking his lungs, yet he would not remove his head until the shamash left. By the time the shamash walked away, half of the Rabbi's beard was gone -- it had caught fire!
When it comes to correcting others, we may have a tendency to be "tongue happy"! We feel it our duty to publicly expose and correct everyone else's wrong; other people's faults or frailties, even those of the fathers of our faith who HaShem calls "beloved"! We are so arrogant that we don't have qualms as to publicly criticizing Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah or Tamar in some of their deeds that may look to us questionable, questionable of course by our contemporary hypocritical sense of morality; a sense of morality which has so 'sophistic-ized' sin that not only it doesn't even appear to be sin anymore, but it parades as righteousness.
Here is what Paul had to say about the sense of people morality in the days preceding the Day of Mashiach, a Day closer to us now than it was in the days of Paul:
Moreover, understand this: in the acharit-hayamim will come trying times. People will be self-loving, money-loving, proud, arrogant, insulting, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, uncontrolled, brutal, hateful of good, traitorous, headstrong, swollen with conceit, loving pleasure rather than God, as they retain the outer form of religion but deny its power. (2Ti 3:1-5)
Are we then, in our generation, fit to criticize the deeds of the patriarchs? Would we do it to their face? We should never level an accusation against someone who is not present, be they dead or alive, yet how many of us feel free to judge and demonize others through the Internet? Why do we do it? Do we really believe that by blowing someone else's candle ours shines brighter? Our Master said it in his own words:
"Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that sums up the teaching of the Torah and the Prophets. (Mat 7:12)
From Abraham to Yeshua, the custodians of the covenant, the leaders of our faith,have held on to the covenant at any cost, be it of their lives or reputation. As such, they "... became imitators of ... the Lord; ... " (1Th 1:6 CJB), of He whom HaShem made "... to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2Co 5:21 ESV). As such, they do not deserve our criticism; we are not fit judges of their deeds.
Tamar seems to have followed that very idea; she seems to have taken a page from Rebecca her grand-mother-in law's book as she entered Judah's family. Here is a contextual synopsis of the story.
Judah's father, Jacob, is in dire straight. He is still mourning the loss of Joseph. He needs to rethink the leadership line. He disinherited Reuben, his first son for having shamed him with a concubine. The two next ones, Simeon and Levi, turned out to be cold murderers in the issue of Dina their sister. Now Jacob looks to Judah for leadership, but Judah goes and marries a cana'anite woman. Things don't look good for Jacob's family. Let's look at the story in Genesis 38:6-30.
(6) Y'hudah took a wife for `Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.
(7) But `Er, Y'hudah's firstborn, was evil from Adonai's perspective, so Adonai killed him.
(8) Y'hudah said to Onan, "Go and sleep with your brother's wife -- perform the duty of a husband's brother to her, and preserve your brother's line of descent."
This was a very common practice in those days...
(9) However, Onan knew that the child would not count as his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother's wife, he spilled the semen on the ground, so as not to give his brother offspring.
This practice constituted an economic sacrifice because the inheritance would be shared with the seed of the brother. Onan pretended to do the right thing but did not, a type of hypocrisy which Hashem hates. It would be better not to do it at all!
(10) What he did was evil from Adonai's perspective, so he killed him too.
(11) Then Y'hudah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, "Stay a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up"; for he thought, "I don't want him to die too, like his brothers." So Tamar went and lived at home with her father.
(12) In due time, Shua's daughter, the wife of Y'hudah, died. After Y'hudah had been comforted, he went up to be with his sheep-shearers in Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the `Adulami.
(13) Tamar was told, "Your father-in-law has gone up to Timnah to shear his sheep."
(14) So she took off her widow's clothes, completely covered her face with her veil, and sat at the entrance to `Einayim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah had grown up, but she still was not being given to him as his wife.
Judah felt that Tamar, the Cana'anite was 'bad news', but Tamar had a plan ...
(15) When Y'hudah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face.
(16) So he went over to her where she was sitting and said, not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, "Come, let me sleep with you." She answered, "What will you pay to sleep with me?"
(17) He said, "I will send you a kid from the flock of goats." She said, "Will you also give me something as a guarantee until you send it"
(18) He answered, "What should I give you as a guarantee?" She said, "Your seal, with its cord, and the staff you're carrying in your hand." So he gave them to her, then went and slept with her; and she conceived by him.
Judah left with her his ID and main credit cards as a guarantee.
(19) She got up and went away, took off her veil and put on her widow's clothes.
(20) Y'hudah sent the kid with his friend the `Adulami to receive the guarantee items back from the woman, but he couldn't find her.
(21) He asked the people near where she had been, "Where is the prostitute who was on the road at `Einayim?" But they answered, "There hasn't been any prostitute here."
(22) So he returned to Y'hudah and said, "I couldn't find her; also the people there said, 'There hasn't been any prostitute here.' "
(23) Y'hudah said, "All right, let her keep the things, so that we won't be publicly shamed. I sent the kid, but you didn't find her."
(24) About three months later Y'hudah was told, "Tamar your daughter-in-law has been acting like a whore; moreover, she is pregnant as a result of her prostitution." Y'hudah said, "Bring her out, and let her be burned alive!"
(25) When she was brought out, she sent this message to her father-in-law: "I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong. Determine, I beg you, whose these are -- the signet, the cords and the staff."
The Hebrew text here is very interesting. It says, "...recognize whose ..."
The exact same Hebrew wording Judah used to deceive his father when he brought back Joseph's bloody coat pretending that a wild animal had killed Joseph (Gen 37:32).
Judah must have felt like his father Jacob felt when he was deceived by Laban in the same way he had to deceive his own father Isaac in the affair of the birthrights, (affair in which Esau was the real deceiver as he should have told Isaac that he had sold the birthright to his brother in a fair and square deal, and therefore could not inherit the blessing).
(26) Then Y'hudah acknowledged owning them. He said, "She is more righteous than I, because I didn't let her become the wife of my son Shelah." And he never slept with her again.
Here is the punch line. Tamar believed in the promises that came to Judah though Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. At the cost of her own reputation, at the cost of making herself look like a sinner, she actually played the role of goel/redeemer to Judah, her father-in-law in order to assure him a succession, a succession which will bring Messiah.
As a daughter-in-law who was rejected and who had to shamefully return to her father's household, she could have hated Judah's family. This is what would happen inj this day and age when in-laws relationships are proverbially acrimonious. But Tamar saw beyond her own wounded ego (and we should take sample from that). Instead, she believed in the covenant of the Jewish family she joined and continued to uphold it and work for it. She made sure to do everything she could, even at her own cost, to bring it to pass. This is love for the covenant as portrayed by the patriarchs and their wives.
(27) When she went into labor, it became evident that she was going to have twins.
(28) As she was in labor, one of them put out his hand; and the midwife took his hand and tied a scarlet thread on it, saying, "This one came out first."
(29) But then he withdrew his hand, and his brother came out; so she said, "How did you manage to break out first?" Therefore he was named Peretz [breaking out].
(30) Then out came his brother, with the scarlet thread on his hand, and he was given the name Zerach [scarlet].
Ruth is another Gentile who had a principal role in the seed of Messiah. She also played the role of redeemer/Goel raising seed for the broken genealigical line of messiah.
The book of Ruth ends with the genealogy of the Peretz, the son of Tamar,
Here is the genealogy of Peretz. Peretz was the father of Hetzron, Hetzron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of `Amminadav, `Amminadav was the father of Nachshon, Nachshon was the father of Salmon, Salmon was the father of Bo`az, Bo`az was the father of `Oved, `Oved was the father of Yishai, and Yishai was the father of David.(Rth 4:18-22 CJB)
And from David the genealogy continues to Messiah.
Through her work, Tamar is given the honor of entering the genealogy to Messiah.
AS WE READ THESE STORIES
AS WE READ THESE WORDS
MAY WE, NOT JUDGE OUR FATHERS
BUT RATHER LEARN TO EMULATE THEIR LOVE FOR THE COVENANT AND FOR THE PEOPLE TO WHOM IT WAS GIVEN.
MAY WE ALSO BE FOUND WITH SUCH LOVE FOR THE COVENANT AS TO BE WILLING TO GIVE UP OUR REPUTATION, EVEN OUR LIVES FOR IT!
Brothers, stop speaking against each other!
Whoever speaks against a brother or judges a brother is speaking against Torah and judging Torah.
And if you judge Torah, you are not a doer of what Torah says, but a judge.
There is but one Giver of Torah; he is also the Judge, with the power to deliver and to destroy.
Who do you think you are, judging your fellow human being?
(Jas 4:11-12 CJB)