ACADEMIE VOOR DE HEBREEUWSE BIJBEL EN DE HEBREEUWSE TAAL

English translations

Judah and Tamar

Redemption * Jehoedah – Tamar * Rechem * deception * Boaz * Moab * conception * modesty * arrogance * science

The stories about the redemption deserve special attention.  I am especially thinking of the redemption occurring in the story of Judah and Tamar. Judah does not want to give his third son Sela to his daughter-in-law Tamar after both his elder sons Er and Onan died, while –as we are told - in a certain sense it was his duty to do so, and Tamar, despite her deceit, was right after all. I am also thinking of a second delivery, viz. the  redemption-story of Ruth, where also a first redeemer refuses and Boaz acts as second redeemer.

Both redemption-stories – and these are the only ones in the Bible – take place in the same lineage, viz. the Messianic lineage, for from Judah and Tamar  Perez came first, and Boaz’s pedigree goes back to Judah via Perez and, from the unison of Boaz and Ruth came David. So there is definitely a link between the story of the Messianic pedigree and this redemption-story, which to so many people is unbelievable and unreasonable. Now indeed there appears to be a close connection between this redemption of the woman, coming from a deceased brother, and the Messiah’s delivery. It is not without reason that these redemption-stories only occur in the Messianic lineage and not in other ones.  Should this redemption not have taken place, then, according to our logic, there would also be no pedigree to beget David.

This redemption and delivery are in fact the foundation of the world. Indeed, we see the same principle again and again in other fields. The word “womb”, Rechem, is the same word as the word “mercy”, because both words are the bases of a new world. The Germanic word “baren” is the same as the Hebrew word for “Create”, which is “bara”. So “womb”, “baren”, “create” and  “Mercy” are actually words of the same origin, and this is so because the foundation of the world is mercy. Just as the womb receives the new life, and develops it to give it to the world, just as the womb carries the new life, so it is with the creation of the universe, with all worlds. Creating is in fact no different from being taken into a womb, being protected to grow and to be finally, as it is called, delivered. Birth is a delivery, for when the time is ripe the fruit appears from out of the peel, the child appears from out of the womb and the world appears from out of the covering; a covering that has protected and raised her during all this time.

The redeemer should in fact redeem counter to his feelings. He should not wonder whether he wants to redeem this woman; he should just take her in. It is exactly this taking in unseen, not wondering about one’s own feelings of sympathy or antipathy, of understanding or misunderstanding, but accepting with closed eyes, which also in the Bible finally brings delivery.  Judah actually could have disowned Tamar and nothing would have been the matter; Tamar would have been punished and would have died. But the public humiliation of Judah by acknowledging that he had been deceived into doing the right thing brought the great victory. He had come to do the right thing involuntarily, but only because someone had deceived and seduced him. This humiliation caused the break-through, as the name Perez also means.

And thus we see how the Ploni Almoni, the Mr. X in the story about Ruth, does want to redeem the field, the possession. But when he hears that there is also a person involved he becomes afraid; so he consults his feelings and does not blindly accept a task, which he has to assume. He does not want to bring difficulties upon himself, and he refuses.  He may afterwards have had a nice and quiet life in this world and the story about him is now over and done with, while Boaz, who did accept what he knew to be his duty, becomes the ancestor of David. Boaz means “in him is the power”, so the power to conquer himself, to redeem blindly.

This is how man stands facing the world, and how the whole of creation stands facing the foregoing. Man always gets to face something unredeemed, something that presents itself to him as Ruth from Moab, from a sinful, heathen region; something that is driven towards him. On the other hand man also longs for this world, to be here in a strange environment, in a new environment, where he feels to have his destination; thus everything comes to man again and again and wants to be taken in blindly, not according to man’s measurements of appreciation. If man would start reasoning he would say:

“This is something sinful, it comes from Moab, I cannot trust this. Why would I make up such experiments?” To the world he would act wisely this way and be rid of it. It is indeed the special aspect of a delivery that it is not something one likes and takes pleasure in, but rather the opposite; a delivery is in a sense frightening, perhaps even repulsive, or in any case may be defective; for then this delivery is in accordance with the foundation of the world, viz. with mercy. And just as God appointed the womb to be the embodied mercy, to bring forth new life, man should take in everything, without knowing what it is going to be, trusting that it will be alright. It is indeed modern man, who does not want to deliver except when he himself takes pleasure in it, who starts reasoning as to what the womb will or will not receive, who gets interested in what might finally appear from out of this womb; and if he thinks that it will bother him or that it may bring him into difficulties (especially if these difficulties are economic) he simply refuses to create. Thus much of what presents itself to us in this world is rejected by us because we expect difficulties to arise from it and we are in no way willing to accept it blindly and, as it is said, to leave it to God as to what will become of it. And it is indeed this blindly accepting things that will bring delivery. Who, in the Bible, refuses this acceptance, will be so to speak humiliated before the eyes of the entire people. He pulls out his shoes, for the shoes are in our physical appearance that which connects us with the earth; in fact the shoes are in a sense the animal on which we stand.  Indeed, standing on both feet is standing on the entire world, possessing both opposite parts, also possessing the opposition: life and death, this and the coming world. And in this physical appearance pulling out a shoe causes the abandonment of the opposites, the wish to solve the things we see in only one half.

And as it is with man, it is with the entire world. Already at the creation this whole humanity is placed opposite to the ancient worlds; matter coming from an antiquity, the time of which we cannot count or calculate, since time is lost in it. Man is put into this world to serve her and to deliver her, again without asking why, according to standards given to him by God. Although man is willing to deliver, he wants to know what it is that he delivers; he wants to have his own standards and that is why he eats from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, since this tree itself provides him with standards; and now he can, like God, see why he delivers and how this tastes. But the foundation of creation is mercy and mercy does not inquire after the one whom mercy must be done to. Otherwise it would not be mercy and so wanting to know the standards beforehand is wanting to act with a kind of principle of justice and not with the principle of love, of  mercy. And thus this whole world is actually nothing but a redemption, a deliverance from the old one. For it is the ancient worlds, that which was there before man, that in this appearance stand for the woman who must be delivered by the man. That is why in this life the woman longs for the man and it is not so much the man who longs for the woman, at least as long as the man is indeed kernel and man. In times when the man abandons his kernel-position, breaks adrift and feminizes one sees the so-called social chivalry, when the man pretends, and also believes, that he longs for the woman. The longing of the woman for the man is the longing of ancient worlds, of matter, for delivery. Just as the woman dresses up, matter dresses up so to speak, in order to seduce; but one should also call to mind the seduction of Judah by Tamar. Since we do not naturally have the feeling and the urge to redeem, the woman and matter must seduce us in order to be redeemed.

Ruth too is in a sense sent to Boaz by Naomi to get into touch with the redeemer. Thus matter and everything that meets us makes itself attractive in order to be able, at least by this way of deceit, to be delivered. Girls or young women, who dress or make up especially for a man, do the same as Tamar did; and finally the man, just like the world, realizes that injustice is on his side and that he should have redeemed because it was his duty to do so, and not because he was seduced to; In that case he would have acted in accordance with God.

Judah’s fear that the same would happen to Sela as to Er and Onan was a logical fear, which, however, he had to ignore; he only had the duty to redeem, not to look and do as he thought well.

So the whole creation is nothing but a redemption of the old world and that is also why this world is always the second half of the circle. We accept an inheritance of a former world, unknown to us, of a world in our form of appearance, which may be compared with the inheritance of a brother, an elder brother, who has not been able to complete his task, and now his wife, or matter, is offered to us and we have to redeem this woman. If we do this we also lay the basis for the full delivery of the world, or at least we also provide a building-stone.

If we do not, life, in a sense, as seen from the other side, is useless. That is why this world is always represented as the second one, as the second part, and the first part must remain closed for us. Who inquires too much after the first part might reject it because he would see the possible shame of it. In his view it would be measured according to his standards and then it would not be possible. That is why we accept (and God made it in a way that it would happen to the world) the ancient worlds; the first part of the circle unseen; we cannot but accept it or deny it.

It is told how the soul, when she must descend into the body, resists, as she is afraid of living together with this body. She abhors this body as a material thing, but she is finally forced to enter the body, just as she must be forced to leave it again in the end. This is the same conscious refusal to redeem, for the soul redeems the body like God redeems the world, like the man redeems the woman and like man redeems the whole world; (the world considered as matter here).

That is why everything in this world has the nature of the second, which must accept blindly. And that is why the tendency to explain everything from out of the position of the 1 is a tendency which stands in the way of a redemption, and so also of a delivery. That is why redemption and mercy go together. And as soon as the human standard of logic comes in, the way of delivery is impeded; then deceit and seduction have to assist in reaching the end by means of emotions, rise and decline etc, because the purpose must be achieved anyway.

Translation Mrs. Duynstee

 

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