“Tamar…had taken an immense risk by becoming pregnant. Indeed she was almost killed for it. She had done so for a noble reason: to ensure that the name of her late husband was perpetuated. But she took no less care to avoid Judah being put to shame. Only he and she knew what had happened.
Judah could acknowledge his error without loss of face. It was from this episode that the Sages derived the rule…it is better to risk being thrown into a fiery furnace than to shame someone else in public.
It is thus no coincidence that Tamar, a heroic non-Jewish woman, became the ancestor of David, Israel’s greatest King. There are striking similarities between Tamar and the other heroic woman in David’s ancestry, the Moabite woman we know as Ruth.
Never put anyone to shame. That is what Tamar taught Judah and what a great Rabbi of our time taught those who were privileged to be his students.”