Monday, November 22, 2010

I came across something in this past week's parsha (Torah portion) that intrigued me, but I wasn't able to find any comments on it:

We're all familiar with the story concerning Dinah's abduction and violation, and the retribution that her brothers visit upon the city of Shechem. At the beginning of the story, after Shechem rapes her, the verse states that "He became deeply attached to Dinah, daughter of Jacob; he loved the maiden..." (Gen. 34:3). By all accounts, after Shechem's assault, he falls - hard - for the object of his depravity.

The reason this is so interesting is because it seems counter-intuitive; as described elsewhere, once the overpowering desire is fulfilled, the object of that lust is no longer appealing. As a matter of fact, the "love" is replaced with an even more intense hate and disgust! "Afterwards Amnon despised her with a great hatred; his hatred was even greater than his love that he had felt for her. So [he] said to her, 'Get up and go away!'" (II Shmuel 13:15)

If this is indeed the case, as explained by the commentaries, then what happened between Shechem and Dinah? What was different?


stp said...

Perhaps the original act was a result of more than just lust? Similar to the case of Pharoah abducting Sara...he knew that Avroham wouldn't allow him to marry Sara (thinking that Sara was his sister, not wife) so he kidnapped her. Perhaps Shechem loved Dina beforehand and figured the only way to be with her was through abduction and rape? After the act, his feelings were just confirmed.

Shmuel said...

stp - someone just showed me some very deep Torah concerning this matter; while it didn't address my specific issue, both the Kisvei haARI and Pirkei D'Rabbi Elazar allude to some major themes wherein Shechem is the embodiment of the primordial Serpent, and Dinah's violation helped her achieve a tikkun for a spiritual blemish caused by a previous incarnation. Either way, it seems that Shechem did in fact plot Dinah's abduction so it seems like you may be heading in the right direction.

Alternatively, one of my rebbeim pointed out that whereas Shechem was not Jewish, Amnon was, and his sensitivity to sin (despite his transgression) was much higher. Thus, the visceral reaction he had to his own failing is par for the course for someone who possesses a neshama, not just a nefesh...