Pearls of Rashi – Parshas Vayishlach II

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In this week’s Torah Portion, Vayishlach, The Torah tells us that[1] “Dinah, the daughter of Leah whom she had borne to Yaakov, went out to look about among the daughters of the land.” Rashi cites the words from this verse, “The daughter of Leah,” and explains the following. She was the daughter of Leah, “and not the daughter of Yaakov. Because she was in the habit of going out, she was called the daughter of Leah. Leah was also in the habit of going out, as it says ‘and Leah went out to greet him (referring to Yaakov).’“ Rashi concludes with the words, “The allegory regarding her (Dinah), was used, ‘like mother like daughter.”

The result of Dinah’s “going out” marked the beginning of a series of tragic events. These events lead to the assault of Dinah, the daughter of Yaakov our forefather.

The Torah refrains from speaking of anyone or anything in a derogatory manner. Abstaining from negative speech applies even to a non-kosher animal[2]! The only exception to this is to teach us a life-lesson. Yet here, from Rashi’s explanation, it appears that the Torah is telling us something negative about both Leah and her daughter Dinah. It must be that this teaches us a very positive lesson. How can we understand this?

The explanation is as follows. Generally, we say that[3] “the entire glory of a princess is within,” and that a woman is the “mainstay of the house.” That is because a woman’s primary job is to build a Jewish home. However, there are circumstances under which a woman must leave the house and “go out.” A woman who can influence others must modestly use this ability for the sake of heaven. In this manner, they can bring women who are “on the outside” and to draw their hearts to the service of Hashem.

A woman must “go out” in a manner befitting a Jewish woman. She must do so with the utmost modesty. By carrying this out in a proper manner, even when she “goes out,” it will be apparent that her true glory is within. G-d endowed women with a greater ability than men to draw others near to the service of Hashem. The result of a woman’s effort will have a longer-lasting and more serious effect than that of a man, who by nature may argue and debate, etc. Since G-d granted the ability to women to draw others close to Hashem, they are obligated to use it. Their obligation is not only conducting the household. Rather it also extends to drawing other women close to their Father in Heaven.

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 35, Pages 150-155.

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י חתנו ובתו שיחיו
הרה”ת ר’ שמואל ורבקה שי’ מענדלסאהן

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 34:1.

[2]. See Parshas Noach Bereishis 7:8 and Tractate Bava Basra 127b.

[3]. Tehillim 45:14.

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