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Daily Aliya for Vayishlach, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: Jacob’s daughter, Dina, ventured out into the city of Shechem, when Shechem, also the name of the crown prince of the city, abducted and violated her and kept her hostage. Chamor, the governor of the city, approached Jacob and informed him that his son Shechem was infatuated with Dina and desired her hand in marriage. Jacob’s sons slyly agreed to the proposition, provided that all the men of the city would circumcise themselves. Upon the urging of Chamor and Shechem, the Shechemites agreed to the proposal. On the third day following their mass circumcision, Dina’s two brothers, Simon and Levi, entered the vulnerable city, killed all its male inhabitants, and liberated Dina from Shechem’s home. Jacob was displeased by this act, fearing reprisal from the neighboring Canaanites. Nonetheless, Jacob traveled on, and “the fear of G‑d” was upon the surrounding cities and they did not pursue Jacob and his family. Jacob arrived in Canaan, in Beth-El, and G‑d appeared to him, blessed him, and changed his name to Israel.

Among the reactions to Dina’s rape is Yakov’s silence, her brothers’ sadness, anger followed by revenge. Their anger, however, was on behalf of Dina (34:13) and their father (34:7). In contrast, all of Shechem’s actions were driven by his lust for Dina (34:11). So we have another conflict between opposing forces: those that think and do for others vs. those that think and do selfishly for themselves, and to everyone else’s detriment. There’s a lot to learn about how to deal (or not deal) with diametrically opposing viewpoints.