the rape of Dinah, who wandered into
a third world neighborhood,
And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard
it; and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth,
because he had wrought a vile deed in Israel in lying with
Jacob's daughter; which thing is not done.
Rashi comments on the underlined phrase
which thing is not done.
You might argue contributory fault of the rape victim.
After all, she should have known better than to go into
a third world neighborhood (even if she was socializing
with the girls). The Bible therefore emphasizes that
although roughing people up and macho behavior is to be
expected when you go to a third world neighborhood, rape
is not to be expected. Even third world nations know the
seriousness of Rape and have their own cultural methods,
which usually involve heavy bonding in groups,
to prevent people from going overboard. So Schem was the
Advanced Rashi: Someone asked me a few weeks ago if I
deal with Rashi contradictions. We have such a Rashi
contradiction in Gn34 since at Gn34-01 Rashi, commenting
on the unusual genealogical phrase, Dinah the daughter of Leah states,
Leah was frequently forward with her husband and set a bad role model for
Dinah, who was forward with men. This led to her rape. But on
Gn34-07 Rashi states that Schem was the rapist. Which is it?
Did Leah cause the rape by showing Dinah how to be forward
or was Schem solely responsibile for the rape. Or, perhaps
Rashi is implying that Schem and Leah both contributed to
Before answering this contradiction I note that many non-Rashi
scholars have vehemently attacked this Rashi, the lastest example,
being the book The Red Tent. It would behoove those who comment
on Rashi to at least inquire as to what he is saying. He couldn't
have meant that Leah was the rapist since he goes out of his way
to blaim Schem and remove any defense.
It appears to me that we can understand Rashi if we distinguish
between blaim and guilt. Leah is not to be
blaimed for Dinah's
rape. She did not contribute to it. Indeed, Leah was Dinah's mother.
Rather Leah, upon hearing of the rape, felt guilty that perhaps
her forward behavior with Jacob sent an incorrect signal to her
daughter that such behavior is always appropriate. She felt guilty
that she never taught her the dangers of being forward with men
So at Gn34-01
Rashi is explaining the natural feeling of guilt coming from a
role model of female forwardness. The reader might ask How can you be blameless and feel guilty? The answer is that guilt is an emotion
not a moral judgement. The symptoms of blameless guilt are thoughts such
as the following: Maybe I should have spoke to her more about men? Maybe I should have been more discrete around the house. Maybe I could have done something and this wouldn't have happened. Blaim however is correctly pla
on the rapist and Rashi goes out of his way to blaim him despite
the fact that she walked into his turf - even criminals have
boundaries and borders. Furthermore it is important for Rashi
to comment on Leah's guilt since in all generations Jewish mothers
do feel guilty when something happens to their daughters and they
need appropriate role-models to identify with.