The Story of Dinah is Still Our Story

Shabbat Va-Yishlach
December 1-2, 2017 – 14 Kislev 5778
Torah: Genesis 32:4 – 36:43
Haftarah: Obadiah 1:1-21

Now Dinah, Leah's daughter, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land.
And Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her: he took her and lay with her, forcing her.
But his emotions clung to Dinah, Jacob's daughter – he loved the girl, and he spoke to the heart of the girl.
So Shechem said to Hamor his father, saying: Take me this girl as a wife!
(Genesis 34:1-4)

In these days, at this time, our reading of the Torah turns us to “The Rape of Dinah”.

Whatever we want to say about this story, at the heart of it is the power that men arbitrarily assert over women and over other men.

This should be a story of our ancient past. It is in fact still a story of the immediate present.

We can say that the core teaching of Judaism comes from this verse: “A sojourner, you are not to oppress: you yourselves know the feelings of the sojourner, for sojourners were you in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9)

We empathetically understand the feelings of those who have been abused by power. Every day we must work ever more diligently to make sure that none feel that oppression.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week and a meaningful Shabbat,