Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Yakov was punished for calling himsel Israel (Dinah was raped)

 Netziv (Bereishis 33:20) The medrash explains that Yakov called himself god. The doesn’t mean that he called himself G-d, Heaven forfend!, but that he called himself Israel and consequently G-d was called the G-d of Israel. In other words that Yakov prayed before the altar “ The G-d of Avraham and the G-d of Yitzchok and the G-d of Israel. Yakov was punished for this with the incident of his daughter Dinah being raped as is stated in Bereishis Rabbah (79:8). In other words even though an angel had told him that his name had been changed to Israel, nevertheless G-d had not called that as we see in the gemora. . 

 Rabbeinu Bachye (Bereishis 34) Dinah, Leah’s daughter went out, etc.” What happened to Dinah was a punishment for Yaakov for several misdemeanors. Firstly, he had said to Lavan (30,33) “let my integrity testify for me in the future.” Secondly, he was punished for denying Esau a glimpse of Dinah, for maybe she could have exercised a beneficial influence on him if he had married her. Thirdly, he was arrogant in assuming authority on earth as indicated by the name he gave the altar. According to Bereshis Rabbah, G-d told him: “never praise yourself with something that is in the future.” You have said: “let my integrity testify for me in the future. Tomorrow your daughter will leave her house and she will be raped.” …Another criticism of Yakov mentioned in the Midrash in the name of G’d is the fact that he had assigned G’d sovereignty in the heavens whereas arrogating to himself something parallel in the terrestrial spheres as we explained in connection with his naming the altar. G’d said to him: “even the reader in the synagogue does not arrogate to himself the right to act on behalf of the congregants. He waits for an invitation by the congregation to act on their behalf. Tomorrow your daughter will be raped.” The reason this punishment followed the misdemeanor so promptly was because Yakov had spoken to G’d in a somewhat provocative manner.

Bereishis Rabbah (73:9) SO SHALL MY RIGHTEOUSNESS WITNESS AGAINST ME TO-MORROW 30:33). R. Judah b. Simon said: It is written, Boast not thyself of to-morrow (Prov. 27: 1), yet you say, SO SHALL MY RIGHTEOUSNESS WITNESS AGAINST ME TO-MORROW -to-morrow your daughter will go out and be violated, as it says, And Dinah the daughter of Leah went out, etc. (Gen. 34:1). AND LABAN SAID: BEHOLD (HEN), WOULD (LU) IT MIGHT BE ACCORDING TO THY WORD (30:34). R. Hiyya the Elder said: Every agreement which Laban made with Jacob he retracted ten times, for it says, Hen, lo.2 The Rabbis said: A hundred times, for it says, And your father hath mocked me, and changed my wages ten times- monim (ib. 31:7), [that means ten times ten], for a minyan (quorum) is not less than ten.

Bereishis Rabbah (79:8) 8. AND HE ERECTED THERE AN ALTAR, AND CALLED IT EL-ELOHE-ISRAEL (33:20). He Jacob declared to Him: ‘You are G-d in the celestial spheres and I am a god in the terrestrial sphere.’ R. Huna commented in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: God reproved him: ' Even the synagogue superintendent cannot assume authority of himself,  yet you did take authority to yourself. To-morrow your daughter will go out and be dishonoured!’ Hence it is written, And Dinah the daughter of Leah went out, etc. (Gen. 34:1).


  1. Yakov was punished by his daughter being raped? Well, that's disturbing.

  2. It seems this is mentioned only in this medrash.
    However the Netziv takes it at face value.

  3. Interesting. Actually, the Torah does not actually say Dinah was raped. While she may have been pained ("V'yaaneha" and the Rashi thereon) the clear implication of the Posukim is that she was seduced. If you look at it that way, this commentary is somewhat more palatable. The fact that such a thing would happen to a daughter of Yakov could indeed be a "punishment", to him, so to speak.

  4. what happened to principle that children not punished because of father's misdeed?


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