(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 21:08:36 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Rashi On Parsha Vayishlach

Why does Jacob repeat himself 3 times in Gen35-02?

Examination of the verse shows THREE (not TWO) requests a) remove
the foreign gods, b) purify yourselves, c) change clothing.

So I would say as follows: It would be embarassing for someone to admit
that they have Shechemian garments on. To avoid this embarassment Yaakov
requested they (privately) remove all spoils of shechem, then they should
e.g go to Mikveh (to purify themselves) and then everybody would naturally
change clothing (so that the Shechem garments could then be removed without
embarassing anybody).

Remarkably, I found a halachic analogy to this suggested distinction
between items whose removal would cause embarassment and items whose
removal would not cause embarassment: In division of an estate after death
of a parent we distinguish between assessing estate possessions that the
inheritors have and those estate possessions that are being worn by their
children and wives (these clothing worn by their wives are not assessed
even though they belong to the estate since "the brothers waive assessment
in order not to embarass their wives into appearing before a court and have
their clothing assessed") (Rambam Inheritance 10:3).

Of course, the idea that Biblical verses teach us not to embarass people
occurs frequently in Rashi, the most famous example being Ex 20,23.

Russell Hendel;Phd ASA;Math;Towson Univ;