Even the Messiah Has a Dysfunctional Family
The degree of realism in the Torah is amazing. The author
is photographer, not a portrait painter. Warts, blemishes,
pimples, moles. He shows them all. There's no artificial
coloring. No rouge and lip gloss for pale cheeks and lips.
The Torah is a textbook, not a sales brochure. And though
the Patriarchs may schmooze with the Creator in the Heavens
above, they have feet of clay. If they were Catholic,
they'd never even sniff sainthood. They might even have
trouble getting into a warm, well-heated monastery with
its own garden and a chef who knew the secret of fluffy,
flavorful matzo balls.
Consider the amazing lineage, full of Moabites, Cannanites
and illicit love, of the Messiah, The Deliverer whose
"delight will be in the fear of the Lord".
He does not exactly drop down from the heavens, trailing
a cloud of divine glory. Why the blemishes? I don't
know- I'm only a Jewish humorist. Ask your Rabbi. Ask
yourself in your nightly 2:00am meditations on the meaning
of life. Maybe the message is just as important as the
messenger. Maybe the ancestry of the Messiah tells us
that the Tent of Israel covers perfect and imperfect,
Cannan, Moab, and Jerusalem.
He will come, says the Book of Books, from the House
of Jesse, the Line of David the King. OK, that's a nice
imperial start, but consider that the generational chain
contains the Judah and Tamar affair. (Boy, that would
sell a few magazines!) It also includes the tempestuous
love story featuring Ruth and Boaz.
First, Judah. He's lonely. His wife has passed on.
Meantime, his widowed daughter-in-law, having lost her
mate begs her father-in-law for the hand of her dead
husband's brother. Tamar, an unlucky lady, gets Onan,
who refuses to show his love in the traditional manner.
She needs a real hubby - a conventional baby maker will
do just fine. And what Tamar wants, Tamar gets. Eventually,
via trickery, she seduces Judah himself, though he is
unaware of her identity. Twins pop out of her, Perez
and Zerah. Perez, begat by Judah and his daughter-in-law,
is a key link in the messianic chain.
Now it's six generations later, and we've left Genesis
for the Book of Ruth, a charming love story worthy of
Hollywood in its benign heyday. The details are fascinating.
You can read them in the Book of Ruth, since I only
get 700-800 words to construct my humble homily. Ruth
and Boaz, a descendent of Perez, stand under a Chupah
in a field outside of Bethlehem.
(Why do all of our daughters prefer outdoor weddings,
disregarding the fragility of Chupahs in bad weather?
Why don't they feel the same passion for an outdoor
reception with bologna sandwiches and lemonade instead
of rib steak dinners and champagne at the Ritz?)
Next Story: Ruth,
the Moabite, Progenitor of the Messiah