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Vayeishev: Bitter & Pure

“And she sat in the entrance of Enaim, when Judah saw her he thought her to be a harlot, for she had covered her face (to see Genesis 38:14).” The name Tamar is composed of the words, Tam, meaning innocent and pure, and Mar, meaning, bitter. The aliens thought is bitter, but in truth it is pure. (Even the alien thought that distracts man from pure worship is itself sustained by a divine spark and is essentially pure.) Thus it is written, “I saw slaves on horses (in Ecclesiastes 10:7).” Horses refers to words of prayer. When an alien fought rides upon them and a man sees this, he is astounded that a mere slave is riding on the King’s horse. But when he bears in mind that they are holy words, and it is only their configuration that is wrong, he can contemplate the letters by bringing them to the world of permutation, and from these words other configurations can be made, words of Torah instead of nonsense.


This is what is meant by “she sat in the entrance of Enaim (eyes),” the one through whom all look toward the Holy One. “When Judas saw her, he thought her to be a harlot, Zonah – zo na’eh, (this one is beautiful), for it is an organ of the Shechinah. But when the question is: If it is indeed an organ of the Shechinah, why is addressed in such nonsensical words? The answer is, “for she had covered her face.” (Maggid Devarav l’Yaakov)

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