hebrew
1)

What made Yehudah assume that she was a Zonah?

1.

Rashi #1: Because otherwise what she was doing sitting at the cross-roads?

2.

Malbim: In lands of Yishmael, the custom is to burn a letter on the face of harlots, so people will know that she is a harlot. They cover their faces so the letter will not be seen. Later, Yehudah commanded to burn [a letter on the face of] Tamar.

2)

Why did he not recognize her?

1.

Rashi #1 and Targum Onkelos: Because her face was covered [now]. 1

2.

Rashi #2 and Targum Yonasan: Because when she lived in his house, she always covered her face, 2 so there was no way that he could have known who she was. 3

3.

Seforno: Refer to 38:16:1:1.


1

See Ramban, who elaborates on this explanation. Ha'Emek Davar - because he did not recognize her from afar, and assumed that she is a Zonah, he did not recognize her through her voice.

2

Refer to 38:14:1:1-3 and to 38:26:2:2*.

3

Oznayim la'Torah: Otherwise it is inconceivable to say that Tamar kept her face covered throughout their intimacy. Ha'Emek Davar says that it was covered the entire time! Refer to 38:14:1:4 and the note there. Yakov did not realize that he had Bi'ah with Leah until morning (29:25)! (PF)

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