Monday, November 26, 2007

I had this discussion with a fellow blogger and then decided that some of you would like to hear about this particular 'trial' as I call 'em.
My oldest daughter, who is growing up faster than I can blink, has parsha homework and a teacher that makes 'em think.
So we enjoy chewing up finer points of the pasuk on occasion, and sometimes I wonder what the heck is the teacher thinking?

Well, this was one for the books, Maydele asks me about a particular Rashi that responds to the question, why Tamar was to be killed, says Rashi "as the daughter of Shem ben Noach, the Kohen, she was to be burnt"
OK Maydele asks "We burn all daughters of kohanim? 'Cause we've got cousins who....
Me"what lemme see that question"
Teacher asks 'why was tamar to be killed'?
I gotta explain this, but very carefully.
Me "ok When Yosef was sold, Shimon and Levi wanted to kill him. As Yakov on his deathbed said they had tempers, and they truly thought it was justified.
Ruvain, the oldest, knew better and said "let G-d decide - put him in a pit " that happened to be full 'o poisonous snakes 'n other nasties. The pasuk does say that Ruvain wanted to save Yosef's butt.
Yehuda not knowing this but agreeing- felt he couldn't fight the crowd, suggested that they sell Yosef. And so it was.

Later Yakov had immense grief and the brothers blamed Yahuda, that he shoulda said leave Yosef alone and sent the kid home.
Yahuda was troubled enough to leave home and then spent some time with a Caananite dude named Shia (Yes Maydele sounds Jewish, but no he wasn't) and married his daughter and had 3 boys, Er, Onan and Shaylu. Bas Shia dies in childbirth of Shaylu.
When Er was old enough Yahuda arranges a shidduch for him, Tamar daughter of Shem son of Noach."

So here comes the difficult part!

"Tamar was gorgeous and Er not wanting to spoil her beauty wouldn't set up house together.
Hashem wasnt happy 'bout that and Er died.
So Tamar was introduced to Onan who refused to Yibum his brothers memory and even though he married her, he acted the same way, so that there would be no child.
Hashem polished off Onan too.
Yahuda freaked at this point and told Tamar go home until Shaylu would be older.
So off Tamar goes.
After a few years Tamar realizes its not gonna happen with Shaylu, so she devises a plan. she dresses herself as a disguise.... and sits outside Avraham's tent, (seems that it was a museum or something) Yahuda, out with the sheep gets this wierd notion to walk the sheep thataway, and sees the .....interesting lady.
They get married and in the morning Yahuda goes to get all his stuff, comes back to find that the lady he married, was missing!

6 months later people start talking that Onans widow was pregnant and yahuda convenes a Beis din and finds her guilty of being untzniusdig and must have married someone else without getting Chalitza from Shaylu or Yahuda, for which the sentence is death.
Being that she was Shem ben Noach kid that makes her a Kohens kid for which the regular death is replaced with burning.

There's lotsa more medrash to this story, but that's the gist.
Try explaining this to a barely teenage girl, without any sexual references (sigh)
L-rd knows why the teacher chose to make the parents squirm.