Many layers of insights and deeper meanings (including rectifications and gilgulim) are revealed within this episode, but we’re just going to focus on gleaning 2 lessons from one aspect of it: Dinah’s behavior & dress.
Chazal point out that Dinah left her family’s secure area to go out to see the Canaanite females, which is how Shechem saw her and managed to abduct her in the first place. Also, her sleeve accidentally went up, exposing her elbow.
If you, like me, grew up with feminist brainwashing, you initially find this insight offensive.
Blaming the victim! How dare they?!
But that’s not what Chazal is doing.
Lesson #1: Please Protect Your Precious Self
Secondly, Dinah and Yosef Hatzaddik switched souls, which is why he possessed certain feminine attributes and Dinah possessed certain masculine attributes.
(Initially, Leah Imeinu was going to birth Yosef Hatzaddik, but in her great compassion and righteousness, she prayed for a girl so that her sister Rachel Imeinu would be equal to Zilpah & Bilha in the number of Tribes produced.)
So the fact that Dinah possessed certain masculine tendencies that led her to take this risk is definitely not Dinah’s fault.
So this is the first lesson: Ladies, you need to protect yourselves.
This is the opposite of feminist ideology, which insists that you have the right NOT to protect yourself.
But here's your real right: You have the RIGHT to protect yourself.
In fact, it's even an obligation to protect yourself.
That's from the Torah, not from me.
Yet as we all know, protective measures like modest behavior and modest dress are not full-proof.
Nothing is fool-proof.
Bomb shelters can be bombed. Locks can be picked.
But we enter bomb shelters anyway. We lock our doors anyway.
Why? Because it’s good hishtadlut.
And because Judaism loves women, it encourages women to at least make efforts toward self-protection.
Because of the feminist propaganda, women and girls in America are discouraged from taking proper measures to protect themselves. This dumbing-down of the American female has reaped terrible consequences for girls and women.
In response to the growing number of assaults and harassment against young women, some caring tough guys formed an website (No-Nonsense Self-Defense) to give females—particularly college-aged women—sensible advice for self-protection.
They discovered that despite feminist blather about female "rights!" to behave however and go wherever they want, such conduct usually ignited or escalated a threatening encounter, resulting in a full assault against the woman.
While feminist snarkiness and "grrrrl" characters in books and movies display female feistiness as the desirable and victorious trait, studies reveal that this same feistiness often precedes a violent encounter.
Meaning, 80% of violent encounters were preceded by the young woman using INEFFECTIVE violence when striking out against her potential assailant.
In other words, despite media brainwashing, real-life feisty girls are more likely to lose when faced with a predatory male.
So No-Nonsense Self-Defense stepped in to help women avoid encounters and when faced with such an unwanted encounter, No-Nonsense Self-Defense teaches women how to avoid escalation.
(Sort of like what Dinah's episode comes to teach us.)
Yet despite their motto (“We don't object to the fact that the woman threw the first strike; what we object to is that she didn't break his jaw!”), No-Nonsense Self-Defense is regularly accused of chauvinism and misogyny by Liberal extremists who simply cannot accept the following truths:
- Women are often smaller and weaker than men.
- Women have less experience & skill in physical confrontations. (Boys grow up rough-housing and engage in high-contact sports, like tackle football and the like.)
- Women are either not willing or not capable of deterring a violent encounter with the amount of violence necessary for deterrence.
Yet because No-Nonsense Self-Defense actually cares about women, it continues to propagate pretty much the same lesson presented by the Chumash:
Protect yourself by avoiding encounters & avoiding escalation.
So let’s take the example of wild bears.
People and bears have lived together in America since time immemorial. Not literally together, but in the same forest.
And most of the time, despite bears being carnivorous predators, people weren’t attacked.
Even today, people go camping in bear country, but take precautions because while most bears will leave you alone, they are still predatory animals who can mess up your campsite if you leave attractive stuff accessible.
Actually, bears can do a lot worse than just mess up your campsite, but you get my drift.
So what are some precautions campers should take against bears?
Avoid encounters with bears.
This means the following:
- Watch out for signs of bears in the area: fresh tracks, torn logs, clawed trees, flipped rocks, scat. (Drunken frat boys often leave similar signs.)
- Only travel through bear country in a group.
- Avoid late evening trips or returning to camp in the dark.
- Avoid being near food sources that attract predators.
Upon encountering a bear, avoid escalation.
This means the following:
- Stay calm—look apathetic, if possible—yet wary.
- Protect any small children in the group (i.e., pick them up).
- Stay in a group.
- Move away (slowly and sideways, if the bear is stationary)
- Do not let the bear access your edibles.
- Don’t drop your pack.
- Leave the area & detour to a non-bear location.
- Carry bear spray.
Likewise, the above contains good guidelines for girls and women when around men (i.e., potential predators) who aren’t their father or husband.
To take this mashal even further:
People who work in America’s National Parks tell of some of the horrifyingly stupid things people have done around bears.
For example, some brutally stupid parents think it’s cute to paint their children’s hands with honey and have them hang those hands out the car window to be gently licked by the charming bear approaching their car. A real Kodak moment!
Except the bear did a lot more than lap up the honey.
The person telling the story didn’t want to go into details, but I think we can all imagine.
Yet disturbingly, as Rebbetzin Heller pointed out, some women do just this:
They paint themselves with honey when they’re out in bear country (like if they're on a college campus or in a night club or something).
In other words, they transform themselves into something a predator wants to devour: prey.
And certainly, there are parents who paint their children with honey and expose them to predators.
Even without the honey, you should NEVER roll down your car window and expose your children to a potential predator!
And I mean that metaphorically as well as literally.
Is it their fault? And is being mangled or killed a fair consequence for lack of brains? I mean, heck, the children weren’t at fault at all; it was their parents!
Yet it still happened because this is the physics of the world in which we live. There are predators. This is nature, like it or not.
Of course, you can always hope for a miracle and miracles happen a lot more than we like to acknowledge (Hashem shomer peta’im), but a thinking & caring person takes normal measures of protection against the natural way of the world—and the natural way of the world includes predators (bears, Canaanites, etc.).
So that’s Lesson #1.
Lesson #2: What's Wrong is WRONG
They got slaughtered—literally.
So this is a very interesting lesson:
- Dinah unwittingly endangers herself by leaving her family compound.
- She innocently goes out to positively influence the females of a culture whom she knows consists of immoral reprobates (but she also knows she can improve the females -- yet she is kidnapped before she gets the chance).
- She’s not careful enough with the modesty of her clothing.
- And all this leads her right into the clutches of Shechem who violates her, then doesn’t want to release her.
Yet despite all this, SHECHEM is blamed.
And SHECHEM is punished.
Not Dinah. Not at all.
Yet real misogynists would describe Dinah’s behavior as “asking for it.”
Historically, most (maybe all?) non-Jewish societies took the "she was asking for it" attitude whenever girls or women were violated (unless she was a nun or something). They nitpicked over her behavior and the way she was dressed. Only if they found her character, behavior, and dress impeccable could they proceed with a guilty verdict for the abuser. Maybe.
And even today, Yishmaelite culture punishes the victim. Even a preteen girl will be murdered by her Yishmaelite family members for this act she couldn’t have possibly wanted and on the contrary, experienced as profoundly traumatic.
Several years ago, Israeli newspapers reported on a Bedouin mother from Israel’s South who made it to the Beer Sheva police to deliver her traumatized 12-year-old girl into their prison to protect this girl from her own father and brothers who wanted to murder her for having been violated! I can only imagine what it must have been like for such a young girl to have undergone such a horrific ordeal and then need to run for her life, knowing that her closest family members wanted to murder her.
Actually, I can’t imagine. It’s just terrifying.
But other cultures around the world are not much different. No matter how obviously innocent the female victim and how obviously guilty the offender, many cultures still treat the female victim with little or no compassion.
But the point is: The family of our Avot and Imahot were NOT like this.
And the truth is: Chazal needs to mention Dinah’s unintentional lack of modesty in behavior and dress in order to impart this all-important message:
Even if her behavior or dress makes her look like she’s “asking for it,” VIOLATING HER IS NOT ALLOWED.
Despite Dinah inadvertently "doing like this" and "doing like that," everyone dies.
All the bad people die, I mean.
Interestingly, the brother (Shimon) who (along with Levi) helped carry out the strict din against Shechem was also the brother who took Dinah under his wing.
Rather than killing his victimized sister, Shimon comforted and protected her.
This shows how the uncompromising Jewish adherence to justice runs parallel to the Jewish ability for equally uncompromising compassion and love.
So this is a very powerful lesson to be gleaned from the Chumash, but you need to scour the secular agendas out of your brain in order to glean it.
Having grown up amid secular Liberal culture myself, I can sympathize with how difficult this scouring can be.
But don’t give up! Hashem helps.