Toras V’Yishlach

Chapter 34, Verse 1:

1. Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to look about among the daughters of the land.

וַתֵּצֵא  דִינָה  בַּת  לֵאָה  אֲשֶׁר  יָלְדָה  לְיַעֲקֹב  לִרְאוֹת  בִּבְנוֹת  הָאָרֶץ:

  Rashi says on this Passuk:

 And not the daughter of Yaakov.  However, because of her going out she was called the daughter of Leah, since she {Leah} too was in the habit of going out, as it says, in Ve’Yetzi, Chapter 30, verse 16 –” and she came forth to meet him” from Tanchuma Vayishlach 7 (And concerning  her, they  devise the proverb : Like mother like daughter).   From Midrash Rabbah 80:1

Question:

When you read Rashi, there really is no criticism of Leah.  It is benign.  “Going out” could be good or bad.  

Artscroll  writes the generally held view that spins Rashi negatively, Dinah was immodest and Leah was excessively outgoing.  What!   We are now criticising Leah.    Leah  was one of the “Eimohos” –  founding mothers of the Jewish nation, the one who cried until her eyelashes fell out not to marry Eisav.  

In fact, I would say the opposite of Artscroll.  Rashi seems to be saying – in case you think  that the Passuk speaks harshly of Dinah,  because the Passuk says that Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land, Rashi says, this is not true.  Just as Leah was a righteous person and her going out was done out of holiness, so too was Dinah going out for holiness.    What does Rashi gain by criticising Leah, one of the founders of the Jewish people.      Has Rashi turned into a Bible critic?   impossible.

Artscroll’s interpretation  seems to be based on Midrash Rabbah, Chapter 80, Section 1, copy attached.  In fact, all the Chumashim add that the source of Rashi is from this Midrash Rabbah.   The Midrash actually says that the end of Section 1, that Dina and Leah were dressed as Zona’s (harlots).    How can an Amorah, who lived in the second generation after the destruction of the Second Temple say this interpretation.   Can you imagine if this was said today?   Impossible! 

I said an explanation a few years ago and my brother-in-law showed me that I was in line with the explanation of the Lubavitcher Rebbe  This year I saw it in the Gutnick Chumash, in the portion that says Toras Menacham,  copy attached.

I want to say the Rashi actually means the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s explanation.  Rashi is not being critical of Leah and Dinah, but rather he is praising them.

The Rebbe writes that Dinah had a tremendous ability to bring spirituality to the world.  In a sense, she was the first Lubavitcher Shiliach.  She went out into the world to positively impact the “daughters of Shechem”.  Leah had the same  ability, the ability to go out to the world and bring people closer to God.  After all, Dinah was a descendant of Avrohom.  Proof of this is that Yaakov was criticized for hiding Dinah from Eisav.  Only if Dinah had this tremendous ability to bring people to Hashem and had it within her to positively influence the evil Eisav, is Yaakov criticised.

Rabbi Lichtman this morning at our Daf Yomi Shiur added to my explanation.  There is a Midresh  that says the Yosef’s wife was Dinah.  If so, this is beautiful.  Yosef is the epitome of the Jew who is involved in the general world, maintained his Jewish soul, and had a positive impact on the world.  It is fitting that Dinah should marry Yosef.

I will add another indication, similar to Rabbi Lichtman.  Dinah, per the Midrash was initially a boy;  however, Leah, prayed to Hashem to make the fetus into a female.  I saw somewhere that Dinah had the Neshama of Yosef.  If so, just like Yosef had the ability to intermingle with the world, Dinah had the same ability, and bring people closer to Hashem.

The question is, how you explain the Midrash because clearly the Midrash appears to be critical of Leah.  Is the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Abarbanal arguing on the Midrash.

The answer is no, no, no.  The source of Rashi is not the Midrash.  Rashi is positive and not negative.  The people who printed the Chumash who added that the source of Rashi is the Midrash Rabbah 80:1 were wrong.   I have proof of this.  Look at Rashi again.  Notice, the words in Rashi (And concerning  her, they  those that say parables, say: Like mother like daughter)  is in parentheses. These words are very similar to the Midrash and this is what seems to anchor Rashi to the Midrash.  However, we  do not read parenthesis.  Per a Rov, words in Rashi that have parentheses around them, are words that were not in Rashi’s manuscripts.   They were added later by others.    The answer is that Rashi is not based on the Midrash, so parentheses were used on these words, to tell us not to read these words because that there is no connection between Rashi and the Midrash.  These words were put into Rashi in later generations who got it wrong.   

How to understand the Midrash:

Look at the Midrash, pages 5-7 of the attached.  Although the Midrash at the end says that Leah and Dinah were dressed as harlots, Reb Yosi said this only in the context of a response to Reb Yehuda Nesia.  It was not said as the explanation of the Passuk.   The story in the Midresh is that Reb Yosi publicly insulted the house of the Nasia saying that they are unethical.  Finally at the end, Reb Yosi insults Reb Yehuda Nesai to his face via insinuation, allusion, and intimation.  Reb Yehuda Nesia did not realize he was being insulted.  Reb Yosi was in fact alluding to the Reb Yehuda Nesia and the house of the Nasi, saying that they sold themselves for money and they are animals.

As the cliché goes, “the Empower has no Clothes”.

Artscroll

VeYatzah Dinah

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