Vayishlach - December 5, 2020

Torah Portion:
Vayishlach - December 5, 2020

Torah: Genesis 32:4-36:43
Haftarah: Obadiah 1-21
Portion Summary:
—Jacob prepares to meet Esau; he wrestles with God.
—Jacob guardedly meets with Esau and manages to leave in peace.
—Dinah is raped by Shechem and he seeks her hand; her brothers plot and slaughter all the men of the city.
—The family is rededicated at Beth-El, and Jacob is given the name Israel.
—Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin.
—Reuben sleeps with Jacob’s concubine.
—Jacob is reunited with Isaac; Isaac dies, and Jacob and Esau bury him.
—Esau’s descendants are listed.

Devotional by Janet Cothrell:
Real Talk
“Now Dinah, Leah’s daughter whom she bore for Jacob, went out to look at the daughters of the land. When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her and raped her.” Genesis 34:1-2 (TLV)

Dinah was undoubtedly raised to be a godly woman. The women of the times were not delicate, demure, tea-party-hosting ladies. Even the youngest of them would have been familiar with sexual intimacy. Dinah intentionally went out on her own (an action her parents would not have allowed), putting herself at risk. Why? Perhaps she was naive, or curious, or maybe just experiencing normal teenage rebellion. Although we cannot be sure of her motives, it is clear  that the consequences of her actions were disastrous. She was not only raped but her brothers went on a killing spree in retaliation that would end up wiping out her rapist and all his kinsmen.
                   
What we can gather from Dinah’s home life is that as Leah’s daughter, she was not a primary recipient of her father’s favor; Jacob clearly played favorites within his family. Rachel and her children were his focus, while Leah went unloved. Dinah may have observed this inequity and decided to find out what love and happiness were outside of her dysfunctional family. The ensuing consequences resulted in her being violated and her brothers killing all of the men of the city. Jacob’s blindness towards his wife and daughter’s needs created a vacuum wherein Dinah was left vulnerable. Even though parents may stumble in this way, it is important for them to be honest about their shortcomings, be willing to talk through them with their children, and to ask for forgiveness when necessary.

Father,
Thank You for the children You have entrusted to me. You know that sometimes I fail to be as I should be, and they see it. I ask that You lead me as to how to speak to and teach them to be the people that You desire them to be. Use me to teach them how they can best handle the times that they stumble as well.
 In Yeshua’s name, amen.
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