Hanukah and Vayeshev (Genesis 38): Tamar Sheds Light on Immaculate Conception
The twice married, upright תמר Tamar courageously conceives the ancestor of King David by playing a prostitute. She was not born Jewish, but she desperately wanted to fulfill the promised Levirite marriage, and to bear the destiny of Judah’s path. A most non-Immaculate Conception of the Messiah !
The Hellenic re-write of conceiving the Messiah involves an engaged Jewish virgin named Miriam/Mary who does not consent to a “Leda and the Swan” -style supernatural conception. Active vs. passive; real/fantastic; Jewish-universal/Jewish only to replace the Jews; sex can be abused, but is the divine vehicle for giving love and life/ sex is filthy but necessary for the lowly masses. There can be no greater contrast, nor more important one, between these two heroines of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Gospels.
The name תמר Tamar is about being “upright.” תמר TaMaR is a tall, straight palm tree, and a pillar (Jeremiah 10:5) [E-Word entry: TRUNK]. Do you really think the Greco-Romans invented the pillar? Or did the Creator of our Natural Universe show us the way?
Back in graduate school in American Literature I had a nominally-Jewish professor who was a respected author and expert in Greek Mythology and the sources of modern literature. We were learning Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, whose climactic scene has Reverand Dimmesdale condemning Hester Prynne in court for adultery -- for carrying HIS own baby, which he would not confess to . Dr. S. was stunned to hear from a kid in the back that this is the precise scene of Genesis 38 -- except that Judge Judah mans up when Tamar presents evidence that Judah is the father of the child… who would give rise to David and the Messianic line of actual Judean kings.
Could our Creator be telling us that courageous human endeavor will engender redemption?
Hanukah is the time to hold a candle up to the black and white differences between the Hebraic and the Hellenic. Happy Hanukah.