Monday, April 20, 2009

Could Tamar & Judah Have Been A Marriage?

So I had a question and I was wondering if anyone could answer it for me.

After reading Rabbi Kaplan's Made in Heaven (wrote about this here), I learned that there are three ways in which one can marry a woman:

1) Bi'ah (Sexual Relations)
2) Shtar (Document)
3) For the man to give an object worth the value of at least one prutah to the woman

But there is another idea, apparently rabbinic in nature.

4) To place the two people under one garment (this is like in Megillas Rut, where Rus asks for Boaz to place his garment over her)

If you look at the Tamar & Judah story, it seems awfully like a marriage in those terms.

To begin with, Tamar is veiled, as a bride would be at her wedding:

יד וַתָּסַר בִּגְדֵי אַלְמְנוּתָהּ מֵעָלֶיהָ, וַתְּכַס בַּצָּעִיף וַתִּתְעַלָּף, וַתֵּשֶׁב בְּפֶתַח עֵינַיִם, אֲשֶׁר עַל-דֶּרֶךְ תִּמְנָתָה: כִּי רָאֲתָה, כִּי-גָדַל שֵׁלָה, וְהִוא, לֹא-נִתְּנָה לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה.

14 And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the entrance of Enaim, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife.

In the verse, it even specifies that the reason Tamar goes out in this way is because she was not given to Shelah as a wife, which suggests she wishes to be someone else's wife.

Obviously the bi'ah portion of this is taken care of, because later we find out Tamar is pregnant by Judah.

Judah gives her his signet ring, wrap and staff. The signet ring and staff would be worth at least a prutah, whereas the wrap is the garment that we see at the wedding (either as a tallis over both bride and groom or the actual chupah itself).

יח וַיֹּאמֶר, מָה הָעֵרָבוֹן אֲשֶׁר אֶתֶּן-לָךְ, וַתֹּאמֶר חֹתָמְךָ וּפְתִילֶךָ, וּמַטְּךָ אֲשֶׁר בְּיָדֶךָ; וַיִּתֶּן-לָהּ וַיָּבֹא אֵלֶיהָ, וַתַּהַר לוֹ.

18 And he said: 'What pledge shall I give thee?' And she said: 'Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand.' And he gave them to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.

Obviously this was only in lieu of the kid goat he planned on giving her later, but is it possible that there is a relationship between the narrative and the law? I know Simcha has done research into various relationships between narrative stories and halakha before. Could it be that due to the fact that Judah gave the woman his ring, wrap and staff and slept with her, we begin the tradition of marrying through a ring, saying we must have the two under one garment, and also using bi'ah as an indicator? (Or at least, that these two ideas are linked?) The only part lacking here is the official shtar.

Before you protest that we would not learn anything out of such an untraditional relationship, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan himself brings down that the source for Sheva Brachos comes from Shimshon's marriage, where he had days of feasting. If Shimshon's marriage to a gentile woman can be considered a forerunner for our own Sheva Brachos, it seems likely that the relationship between Tamar and Judah could possibly be a forerunner to something...


Anonymous said...

i am at a wedding now-when i get to a comp i will try to help you- great points-u might want to see the first mishna in kiddushin and the gemara there gor now

Chana said...

Anonymous 9:49,

Appropriate that you are at a wedding and answer questions about weddings...thanks!

Okay, so from that I learned:

Taking through money is seen from the fact that "taking" appears by Avraham when he gives Efron money to buy the field, whereas the idea of "taking" a wife utilizes the same language (hurrah for similarity of words in the Torah)

So that's a place where the words utilized in the narrative teach us the meaning; that's interesting.

Anonymous said...

see the gemara later on where it asks on each case "how do we know?" and learns from different pesukim each of the "ways" (similarity there is a gzeirah shava which comes in tradition only -as it says "one may not make a gzeirah shava on their own" as you well know from previous posts re tshbp

Chana said...


I didn't understand the rest. I understood vaguely the one by bi'ah where it takes the word "way" and applies it to the "way of a man with a maiden," but the rest is confusing to me/ I don't get where they learned shtar from. But you should go dance at the wedding now; that's more important!

MYG said...

Yehuda and Tamar were before Matan Torah; Shimshon after it.

Ezzie said...

The staff/ring were collateral in lieu of payment (which he never paid), so hard to say those were given as kesef. As to bi'ah, you'd still need (IIRC, which I may not be - it was 11th grade) two eidim, similar to what we have by the yichud room.

Also, not sure why you'd connect the different modes of marriage - if anything, that would be in contrast to the gemara which is noting them as alternatives to one another. If they were linked, it would imply that one alone would not be enough.

Anonymous said...

ok just a few points- as to where we learn each kinyan out from -see those gemaras -kesef 2a/b biah4b -bottom-(not sure what your referring to) and shtar 5a-all from pesukim

tamat and yehuda-see mizrachi where he proposes that these items were meant for kedushin, and discusses teh sugya of kiddushin with collateral (see maharal as well), at teh end he says he married her with other items or with shtar-teh sifsei chachamim says maybe the biah itself-as far as eidim goes-see prashas drachim who discusses that according to the mizrachi

re garment-whether that is kiddushin (or nesuin or both)is far from simple as im sure you have read in the book

shimshon and sheva berachos with a gentile-that pirkei dr eliezer you refer to might be what the ralbag in shoftim means when he says "chazal say that she converted before she married shimshon" and teh source for teh rambam who says this as well (issure biah 13-16

Anonymous said...

in sorry i forgot one thing-teh daas zekenim there gives both options that he was mikadesh her with the *ring*, (yes he singles out the ring)or with biah

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

...פילגש is also מותר מין הדין, so..

Chana said...




Right, but I was just curious if it is because we saw that he did all three things by her, we learned out these three things.

Anonymous 2 AM,

You are amazing. Amazing, I say. Thank you so much.


Yes, but I do not think he was taking her as a pilegesh.

Erachet said...

Ezzie, I think you're right about the eidim. I think I learned that in a class this semester.

The Talmid said...

Nice attempt, but it was an act of prostitution. See Rambam הלכות אישות פרק א

א קודם מתן תורה, היה אדם פוגע אישה בשוק--אם רצה הוא והיא לישא אותה--מכניסה לביתו ובועלה בינו לבין עצמו, ותהיה לו לאישה. כיון שניתנה תורה, נצטוו ישראל שאם ירצה האיש לישא אישה--יקנה אותה תחילה בפני עדים, ואחר כך תהיה לו לאישה: שנאמר "כי ייקח איש, אישה; ובא אליה" (דברים כב,יג).

skip halachos 2 & 3

ד קודם מתן תורה, היה אדם פוגע אישה בשוק--אם רצה הוא והיא--נותן לה שכרה, ובועל אותה על אם הדרך והולך לו; וזו היא הנקראת קדשה. משניתנה התורה, נאסרה הקדשה--שנאמר "לא תהיה קדשה, מבנות ישראל" (דברים כג,יח); לפיכך כל הבועל אישה לשם זנות, בלא קידושין--לוקה מן התורה, מפני שבעל קדשה.

The ring etc. that Yehuda gave her was collateral for the "esnan" (biblical word for the money given to a prostitute). He owed her esnan but didn't have it with him, so she demanded collateral.

If they were married, how could the Torah say "she committed an act of znus and was impregnated" and as her punishment Yehudah said "hotziuha vesisaref (take her out and burn her)" (Breishis 38:24)?

I don't have a mizrachi handy (per Anon 2am), but even if he does say it, it's a drash, and not pshat in the pasuk.

Your attempt to add to the ways to do kiddushin by "To place the two people under one garment (this is like in Megillas Rut, where Rus asks for Boaz to place his garment over her)" is not true.
Rus 3:9 just means he should marry her. Actually, Chuppa (a way to do nesuin, not kiddushin) is the husband bringing the woman into his house.
BTW, the Breuer's community, a tallis is placed over the chosson and kallah.

Finally, "source for Sheva Brachos comes from Shimshon's marriage" What is R' Kaplan's source? We already know 7 days of feasting from Yaakov and Leah - they had to wait a week for the feasts with Leah before he could marry Rachel - see Rashi Breishis 29:27 from Yerushalmi Moed Kattan 1:7 (Take that, R' Broyde!)

The Talmid said...

And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herselfTo some degree, women's clothes denoted their status. 1) King David's daughter Tamar could no longer wear her special clothes that the besolos princesses wore. 2)when women were nidas they used to wear special clothes, so everyone knew she was a nida probably because f kodshim and truma reasons (huchzekah nda bishchenusah). 3)widows wore special clothes as we see from this Tamar.

There is a pshat that Tamar was such a tzenua Yehuda never saw her face before, but here she uncovered her face - they interpret "ki kisisah paneha" as "Tamar always previously covered her face" so Yehuda did not recognize her with her face uncovered.

Another point -
Kiddushin is with any one of biah, kesef, shtar. We use kesef. Shtar must be written lishma like a get. Nowadays, to be mekadeish with Biah is prohibited midivrei sofrim.

Irina Tsukerman said...

From what I've read, the tradition of Chuppah goes back to Yitzchak. Not sure about the rest...

The Talmid said...


Is your picture making reference to Pelevin's "The Life of Insects?"