Tamar’s Brother


I am so used to anachronous sexual politics in the Bible, but the sibling relationship in the story of Tamar’s rape hit me hard. I have no brothers by blood, but looking at a sibling as a perpetrator instead of an ally horrifies me on a primal level. I can’t imagine but that even in that radically different time, confronting the juxtaposition of a sister baking bread for her “sick brother” and that brother raping (and then expelling) her, a contemporary reader wouldn’t have empathized at least somewhat with Absalom’s eventual revenge.


In this sound-collage, I made some free-associations surrounding the words “brother” and “sister,” trying to convey a combination of warmth and cold, fear and love. All sounds you hear were made by my body and monkeyed with on my computer.


Lainie Fefferman is a composer and a fellow at LABA. See more of her work at our next LABAlive event on June 2.