And He Called His Name Er

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150) “And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite.” A Canaanite means merchant. “And she conceived, and bore a son; and he called…” Judah had three sons, of whom one survived, Shelah. It is written, “Judah went down,” because he bore sons and buried them, and this is a grave descent and punishment.

151) It is written about the first of Judah’s sons, “…and he called his name Er,” in masculine gender. Of the two other boys, it is written, “…and she called his name Onan,” and, “…and called his name Shelah,” in feminine gender.

152) “…that Judah went down from his brothers.” This is so because the moon, Nukva, was covered and descended from her upright degree into another degree, to which the serpent was connected, as it is written, “and went to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.” This means that he retired from his brothers in the house of Israel, which are holiness, and conjoined with a foreign man, not from the house of Israel, in whom the serpent was attached, and who had not stopped his filth from the foreigners.

153) “And she conceived, and bore a son; and he called his name Er,” and he was bad. The letters of Er and Ra [bad] are the same [in Hebrew], since it comes from the evil inclination. This is why it is written, “and he called his name,” and not, “and his name was called.” With Jacob, it is written, “and his name was called,” since the Creator called him Jacob. But here it is written, “his name was called,” to include the other degree of the filth of impurity that was born.

154) Afterwards, it was not mitigated to return to holiness with the other son, as well, until Shelah came, who was the most important. It is written, “And Er, Judah’s first-born, was bad in the eyes of the Lord. Here, it writes, “bad.” And there it writes, “for the inclination in man’s heart is evil from his youth.” As there it implies wasting of the seed, when he spilled the seed on the ground, here it means that he shed blood. For this reason, “and the Lord slew him.” And what does it say afterwards? “Then Judah said to Onan.”

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