The Torah In Haiku: Vayeishev
Tamar, twice widowed
Deceives her father-in-law
Dressed as a harlot
Pregnant with twin boys
She avoids Judah's decree
He says, "she's righteous"
Chapter 38 of Genesis, the somewhat sordid tale of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar, seems like a strange interruption of the Joseph story. There's a nice, short summary included in Rabbi Alison Kobey's contribution to this week's Ten Minutes of Torah.
Writing in the new collection Unscrolled, playwright David Auburn suggests that Judah's memory of how he and his brothers deceived their father about Joseph might have influenced his decision to "fold" so quickly in the face of the evidence presented by Tamar. Perhaps that idea can provide a reason why this story is inserted into the Joseph narrative.
Image from Masterworks Fine Art, used with permission
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