Torah – Genesis 37:1-40:23 Haftarah – Amos 2:6-3:8 Brit Chadashah – Matthew 1-6;16-25
Vayashev, “and he settled,” is this week’s parasha (portion).
This parasha always falls around the start of Chanukah, also known as the Feast of Dedication, which Yeshua (Jesus) Himself observed as shown in John chapter 10. In keeping with this idea, I’ll point out a connection between this parasha, Chanukah and even the celebration of the birth of Messiah. Even the non-Messianic Jews recognize this portion’s connection to the lineage of Melech David (King David) and the Messianic lineage.
Genesis 38:6-29, “Then Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name [was] Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the L-RD, and the L-RD killed him. 8 And Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the L-RD; therefore He killed him also. 11 Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house. 12 Now in the process of time the daughter of Shua, Judah’s wife, died; and Judah was comforted, and went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 And it was told Tamar, saying, “Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she took off her widow’s garments, covered [herself] with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place which [was] on the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she [was] a harlot, because she had covered her face. 16 Then he turned to her by the way, and said, “Please let me come in to you”; for he did not know that she [was] his daughter-in-law. So she said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 And he said, “I will send a young goat from the flock.” So she said, “Will you give [me] a pledge till you send [it]?” 18 Then he said, “What pledge shall I give you?” So she said, “Your signet and cord, and your staff that [is] in your hand.” Then he gave [them] to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 So she arose and went away, and laid aside her veil and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20 And Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive [his] pledge from the woman’s hand, but he did not find her. 21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, “Where is the harlot who [was] openly by the roadside?” And they said, “There was no harlot in this [place].” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I cannot find her. Also, the men of the place said there was no harlot in this [place].” 23 Then Judah said, “Let her take [them] for herself, lest we be shamed; for I sent this young goat and you have not found her.” 24 And it came to pass, about three months after, that Judah was told, saying, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot; furthermore she [is] with child by harlotry.” So Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!” 25 When she [was] brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “By the man to whom these belong, I [am] with child.” And she said, “Please determine whose these [are]–the signet and cord, and staff.” 26 So Judah acknowledged [them] and said, “She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son.” And he never knew her again. 27 Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins [were] in her womb. 28 And so it was, when she was giving birth, that [the one] put out [his] hand; and the midwife took a scarlet [thread] and bound it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, “How did you break through? [This] breach [be] upon you!” Therefore his name was called Perez..” (NKJV)
To the casual reader of Scripture, this account could easily be dismissed as a seemingly random or salacious story. Why is this story placed here? What is the significance of its placement as we must understand that nothing in Torah, or the entire Word of G-d for that matter is random or accidental.
Again, I’ll point out the fact that this parasha always falls in very close proximity to Chanukah, the Feast of Dedication.
Tamar the apparent immoral woman who played the prostitute with Judah is key here. The sages point out that she knew that this supremely important lineage would pass through her and the bloodline of Judah. After being pledged to his two eldest sons, who were taken before they could conceive and pass on the chosen lineage, she was yet promised to a third, and youngest son. Only after it became clear that Judah would not keep his promise to give him to her she then came up with her plan, determined to fulfill the destiny appointed to her and this family.
Even Judah admits that her righteousness, in the end, surpassed his own!
Indeed her first born, Peretz is named in the lineage which brought about not only King David, but ultimately Messiah Yeshua!
Just to name a couple connections to Chanukah we can see that Yeshua was indeed the Menorah itself and in particular we can see Him in the Shumash or servant candle. He also declared that He is the light of the World, a reference to the light given from the Menorah at the Holy Temple.
Let’s take a quick look at that lineage again in Matthew 1:1-25, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her [who had been the wife] of Uriah. 7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. 8 Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. 9 Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. 11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. 14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. 15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David [are] fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon [are] fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ [are] fourteen generations. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.”
Chag Semeach Chanukah! Shalom!