Thursday, December 03, 2009

In what manner(s) did Shechem rape Dinah?

Summary: Another study of methodology of peshat, examining how different meforshim treat the duplication in different terminology as Shechem's actions vis a vis Dinah. I last reviewed this idea of peshat methodology in terms of the unnecessary poetic duplication of Rivkah being a virgin, whom no man had known.

Post: Sometimes the Torah appears to repeat itself. A good example I just tangentially discussed within parshat Vayishlach was Yaakov being "extremely fearful" and "distressed". The midrash, and Rashi, deduce from this that one was worry of being killed, while the other was worry about killing others. But Radak explains, on a peshat level, that this is something called kefel ha-'inyan be-milim shonos, repetition of the idea in different terms, and is done here for the sake of emphasis of Yaakov's high level of distress.

But I last discussed this in depth in parshas Chayei Sarah. When Rivkah comes out, only to meet Eliezer, she is describes as besulah, ve-`ish lo yedaah, a virgin, and no man "knew" her. And various pashtanim and darshanim approach the duplication and suggest manners in which both terms convey meaning. This includes Midrash Rabba, Rashi, Rashbam, and Ibn Ezra. But then Ibn Caspi says that these is just reiteration to stress the matter. And one should not put too much stress on the meaning of each individual term, and insist that each has a separate meaning. But then, what is peshat? Is it close reading, or is that derash? It is a good question.

Here in Vayishlach, when Shechem abducts Dinah, we hear that  וַיִּקַּח אֹתָהּ וַיִּשְׁכַּב אֹתָהּ וַיְעַנֶּהָ, that "he took her, lay with her, and violated her." The presumed duplication is in "lay with her" when juxtaposed with "violated her". Now, perhaps not. I could suggest that each is a separate step in the process, and the pasuk moves slowly for dramatic (and horrific) effect. That is, he "took her" by grabbing her. He "lay with her" in the most technical sense by simply lying down with her on the bed. And finally he "violated her" by having intercourse with her, against her will. If so, there is no duplication. 

But alternatively, there is duplication, but it describes it in different terms for dramatic effect, or to show that she was unwilling. וַיִּשְׁכַּב אֹתָהּ וַיְעַנֶּהָ could be a hendiadys, two phrases working together to give one sense, that he bedded her against her will. There could be all sorts of explanations. But let us see what the various meforshim, the pashtanim included, have to say.

The pasuk, Rashi writes:

2. And Shechem the son of Hamor, the Hivvite, the prince of the land, saw her, and he took her, lay with her, and violated her.

ב. וַיַּרְא אֹתָהּ שְׁכֶם בֶּן חֲמוֹר הַחִוִּי נְשִׂיא הָאָרֶץ וַיִּקַּח אֹתָהּ וַיִּשְׁכַּב אֹתָהּ וַיְעַנֶּהָ:
lay with her: in a natural way. — [from Gen. Rabbah 80:5]

וישכב אתה: כדרכה:
and violated her: Heb. וַיְעַנֶהָ, lit., and afflicted her. [I.e. he was intimate with her] in an unnatural way. — [from Gen. Rabbah 80: 5]

ויענה: שלא כדרכה:

Thus, one is vaginal, and one is anal, intercourse. Presumably because two acts of intercourse are described, and they cannot be referring to the same thing. And the second one means "afflicted", and so should be even more distressing than the first.

This was based on Bereishit Rabba 80:5, which states the same:
וישכב אותה ויענה
וישכב אותה, 
ויענה, שלא כדרכה: 

Ibn Ezra writes instead:
לד, ב]
ויענה -
כדרכה בעבור היותה בתולה.

By saying ke-darkah, he reveals that he is responding to Rashi, and the midrash. One shouldn't think that it was she-lo ke-darkah, but rather that "violated her" is appropriate terminology because she was a virgin. I don't know what he does with the duplication. Unless sleeping with her is the act of intercourse, and violating her was the act of breaking her hymen. This is not impossible, and in line with his earlier compulsion to explain the duplication by Rivkah. Or alternative, while both terms need to be accurate, he holds that it is kefel inyan be-milim shonot; or that it is a hendiadys, as I suggested above.

Radak as well thinks that it was because she was a virgin, and this verb refers to the taking of virginity. He even points to a good prooftext, of the raped woman:
(ב) ויעניה, לפי שהיתת בתולה, וכן תחת אשר ענה(דברים כ״ב כ״ה)
Ramban cites both Rashi and Ibn Ezra, and then gives his own position:

(ב): וישכב אותה ויענה -

וישכב, כדרכה. ויענה, שלא כדרכה (ב"ר פ ה), לשון רש"י. 

אבל רבי אברהם אמר:

ויענה, בעבור היותה בתולה.
ואין צורך, כי כל ביאה באונסה תקרא ענוי, וכן לא תתעמר בה תחת אשר עניתה (דברים כא יד), וכן ואת פלגשי ענו ותמת (שופטים כ ה). ויגיד הכתוב כי הייתה אנוסה ולא נתרצית לנשיא הארץ, לספר בשבחה:
He does not think that Ibn Ezra's kvetch and explanation, that it was because she was a virgin and thus the act of intercourse violated her, is necessary. Rather, any rape can be called inuy. And the Torah goes out of its way to tell us that Dinah was unwilling, in order to tell of her praise.

Baal HaTurim writes:

 וישככ אותה ויענה. פירש רש״י וישכב
כדרכה ויענה שלא כדרכה. ור׳ אברהם כתב
בשביל שהיתה בתולה קורא עינוי. והרמב״ן כתב
אין צריך כל זה כי כל ביאת אונס קורא עינוי.ז

הכא הקדים שכיבה לענוי ובתמר כתיב (ש״ב
יג, יד) ויענה וישכב אותה, וי״מ שדינה נתפתת
תחלה, אבל תמר לא נתפתת, לכד הקדים ענוי

That is, besides summarizing the previous opinions, he cites another position that Dinah was seduced, rather than raped. Because when we contrast with the rape of Tamar, the two verbs are reversed. And here, the "violation" comes second. And so perhaps this goes to show that Dinah acted willingly! (This would then be the very reverse of Ramban's suggestion.)

Abarbanel writes what is pictured to the right. He notes the "problem", notes Rashi, and does not seem to like it. And cites Ibn Ezra that she was a virgin, and that it why it states that he violated her. And since the violation was in the normal way, should it not have been encompassed in laying with her? There should be no need for it. That is, he seems troubled by the needless duplication. Although I believe I {=Josh} addressed that sufficiently above, either that it is a hendiadys, or else that it is stating this additional fact.

Rather, Abarbanel proposes that Shechem did three bad things. He grabbed her by force ("and he took"), as she was passing in the market, and took her into his house against her will. And even if he was doing so for the sake of marriage (!), it was not right that he did this by force. The second bad thing he did was that he slept with her ("and he lay with her") and destroyed her virginity. And the third bad thing is that he raped her ("and he violated her") in that he did not sleep with Dinah with her as a willing participant, but rather against her will, and with great pain. And upon this it stated in the end vayaaneha.

And perhaps it stated vayaaneha because one who has intercourse naturally experiences pleasure; even if initially it is unwilling, in the end it will be willing, insofar as there is this natural pleasure. And it is already mentioned in the gemara that a woman came before Rabbi and said to him, "I had sex against my will." And it was, because Rabbi maintained that rape must be in the beginning and end of the action, asked her if she had pleasure in that intercourse, for if so she would not be considered one raped, and therefore would be forbidden to her husband. And she answered him that if a man came and placed honey into his mouth on Yom Kippur, against his will, would it sweeten his palate? And this is proof that the natural pleasure should not remove the status of rape, to make it into something willing. 

And therefore, the pasuk related the praise of Dinah, that because of her great pain {at this happening to her}, even the natural pleasure was held back from her in the act of intercourse. And this is what was intended when it stated vayaaneha, that the great suffering relating to the force of will stopped her soul from experiencing the natural sensory pleasure. And all of this informs upon Dinah being free from this sin. And if not for this, there is no doubt that the brothers would have killed her on the day they came upon th corpses, when they found her in the house of Shechem, and they would have judged the adulterer and adulteress {those engaging in illicit relations willingly}, expect that it was made entirely clear to them that she had been raped.

While I don't find the last part of Ibn Ezra convincing, I do like the first part a lot, in which three separate actions are described. Even so, at the end of the day, I don't know that such is necessary, and whether we really need to find cause for the duplication.


Hillel said...

Rabbi Waxman,
Thank you for addressing the issue more fully, but I'm afraid I disagree with several of your contentions.

First, you suggest that Baal Haturim's citing the opinion Dinah was seduced is substantively different from Rashi and Ibn Ezra, but I do not understand how. There is nothing in Rashi, Ibn Ezra, or the Medrash Rabba in 80:4 (I believe the citation to 80:5 is an error) to indicate any rape took place. Indeed, the ending of that medrash, ratifying Ya'akov's decision to remain silent, strongly indicates the opposite. Is the medrash suggesting a wise man remains silent after his daughter is raped??

Second, re Radak, you state: "Radak as well thinks that it was because she was a virgin, and this verb refers to the taking of virginity. He even points to a good prooftext, of the raped woman (Deut. 22:25)"
However, this is not correct.
Radak does not suggest rape anywhere, nor does he quote a pasuk from a raped woman. Indeed, he does not even cite to Deut. 22:25, the raped na'arah me'orasah. His prooftext is from Deut. 22:29, which deals with a seduced, unattached woman! Thus, I would contend Radak is firmly in the category of viewing Dinah as a seduced woman.

Third, (as I noted in a comment elsewhere) while Ramban does explicitly say it is rape, he based it on the word 'vay'anehah', which leads to significant problems by Deut. 22:24, which uses the term "inah" in what cannot be a case of rape. While Ramban does explain the situation (in a way I suspect many modern readers might find somewhat discomfiting), to my knowledge no other Rishonim join in his opinion there. Nor, to my knowledge, do any Rishonim join Ramban in positing that 'inah' always means rape (possibly because of the problems that causes in Devarim 22:24).

Finally, re Abarbanel, I do not understand his initial premise. He assumes the term "vayikach" means by force. However, this is ikar chaser min hasefer! The term 'vayikach' is used many times throughout the Torah, and over thirty times in sefer Bereshit alone, frequently referring to men 'taking' women (e.g., 4:19, 11:29, 24:61, 24:67, etc.) and not once does it mean by force. (Compare 12:15, "vatukach", implying against her will, with 12:19 "vaekach" is used as a defense, unlikely to mean kidnapped, and 20:2, where Avimelech is "vayikach" Sarah - something even Hashem agrees is done innocently - did he innocently kidnap Sarah against her will?) To say the word "vayikach" means by force here and here alone is a huge chiddush!

Any clarifications would be greatly appreciated.


joshwaxman said...

thanks for the feedback. i actually have two posts planned (one on the Biblical intent, one on the commentator's intent) to address the question. the present post (upon which we are commenting) was the *tangential* post i mentioned earlier. and all this is still, alas, al regel achas.

but regardless, I think this post does set up an important point, in that rather than merely responding to the "BIG ISSUE" of whether she was raped or not, the commentators are dealing with a literary / linguistic issue of explaining a particular word, and why there is a seeming duplication.

i have to rush somewhere, so i will try to respond to your three points a bit later. watch this space! ;)


Hillel said...

R' Waxman,
Looking forward!
Much thanks,

joshwaxman said...

again, just al regel achat:

in terms of pt 1, i don't think we will find any explicit statement either way, but that would be (in my mind) because it was so obvious that she was raped that it need not be mentioned. if the midrash ratifies his decision, that might just reflect a non-20th century attitude towards rape of his daughter. see how attitudes towards intercourse with seven-year olds changed, in the post regarding rav shimon shkop. to make the point, i'll exaggerate a bit, and point out that the midrash also doesn't ever say that dinah was a space alien. and all those who differ with rashi as to "veIsh lo yedaah" are not insinuating that rivkah had repeated anal intercourse with several men in Charan.

so while they might not say it openly, they might still maintain it, and we would have to deduce it from other things they say. there is a gemara in Yoma 77b, the midrash tanchuma, and the midrash rabba. in terms of midrash rabba, i would deduce it from the statement that Shechem saw her arm, and that that was what caused him to act. if she was willingly seduced, then there is no need for this. rather, the idea appears to be that he was "provoked" by a minor lack of tznius (going out, showing an arm), and so it is *partly* Dinah's fault. this suggests to me rape rather than seduction...

more in another comment.


joshwaxman said...

in terms of pt 2, in terms of Radak, let me clarify. the pasuk number was recorded or copied incorrectly from Radak, but I intended that pasuk, Devarim 22:29. he only cites the pasuk but doesn't say "raped". that was my own categorization of the pasuk, that it is raped rather than seduced. ibn ezra agrees. the word וּתְפָשָׂהּ, "and lay hold of her", in the previous pasuk, strongly suggests this to me on a peshat level. it is distinguished from the previous case only in that the man is not guilty of the death penalty because she is not betrothed.

even so, i didn't mean to say that Radak intended אֲשֶׁר עִנָּהּ in Devarim to mean rape. as i summarized above, it means to the taking of virginity, and that is how he understands the local pasuk in Vayishlach as well.

but even so, not understanding word X to mean rape does not mean that he endorses the total seduction theory! rather, i am almost certain that he thinks she was raped. I base myself on the *continuation* of Radak's words (see inside), where he explains why he subsequently spoke to her heart:
וידבר על לב הנערה, בעבור שעינה דבר על לבה שלא יחר לה

if she were seduced, why would she be *wroth* with his having taken her virginity?? She would have surrendered it willingly!

Radak is likely basing himself on *other* textual cues, such as Shechem "taking" her, the parallel to the two Sarah instances, the parallel to Yehuda and Tamar, that the brothers had to use trickery and battle in order to get her back in the end, and so on. all this would exist even if the word vayaaneha did not exist in the Torah.

and this is a good example of how not interpreting word X as rape does not mean that person Y thinks it was not rape, but seduction. again, just as everyone who disagrees with Rashi on the meaning of "veIsh lo yedaah" does not think that Rivkah engaged in regular wanton anal intercourse.

of course, this depends in good part on the relative literary merit of each theory, and it may well be that i am biased in favor of the rape reading, and therefore against the seduction reading.

more in a later comment, but that later comment will have to be chronologically later.


joshwaxman said...

"She would have surrendered it willingly!"
should be the pluperfect,
"She would have had surrendered it willingly!"


Hillel said...

R' Waxman,
Thanks for your responses. I must admit I am not a big fan of argument from silence. It is troubling for me to assume that the Rishonim just assumed something without strong textual support, (and the word 'inah' is not strong support for rape), so much so that they never needed to say it. To my knowledge, there is nothing from the Medrash Rabba or Gemara in Yuma to support the statement that it was rape (I have not seen the edrash Tanchuma).

"i'll exaggerate a bit, and point out that the midrash also doesn't ever say that dinah was a space alien"

Agreed, but that it because there's no hava amina to say she was. Here, assuming the word inah means what Ibn Ezra (or the gemara in Yuma, for that matter) say, and not like Ramban, there is no textual basis to think, much less wordlessly assume, that it was a rape (there is contextual basis, but that's difficult to just assume without so much as a passing word from most rishonim).

"i don't think we will find any explicit statement either way"

Ramban, Abarbanel, and later Malbim and other achronim obviously felt the need to make it explicit. Ramban effectively redefines the word inah just to show it was rape here. That makes much more sense to me if rape was not a commonly understood idea at the time.

"In terms of midrash rabba, i would deduce it from the statement that Shechem saw her arm, and that that was what caused him to act. if she was willingly seduced, then there is no need for this."

I disagree. I think the 'saw her exposed arm' statement can be interpreted as you say, or can just as easily mean that the arm attracted his focusing his attention on Dinah, which led further and further. From my perspective, telling women if you wear immodest clothing you might be raped is a much less convincing or schiach argument than if you wear immodest clothing you will attract men who are interested in quenching their physical desires and nothing good will come of it. Of course, that's my bias there, it's not intended as proof, merely showing that the medrash can easily be interpreted either way. It is the silence of the medrash on the matter of rape that I find most convincing.

"if the midrash ratifies his decision, that might just reflect a non-20th century attitude towards rape"

I think that's a very, very difficult statement. Accusations of rape (true and false alike) have long been the pretexts for massive violent behavior in many cultures (including amnon/tamar and pilegesh b'givah). To say remaining silent under such circumstances is a good thing would be an astonishing chiddush, which may be the explanation, but it's a difficult position to take when the medrash leaves the rape part out.


Hillel said...


"if she were seduced, why would she be *wroth* with his having taken her virginity?? She would have surrendered it willingly!"

I don't understand this point. If a woman (especially in a world where maidenhood was a huge, huge deal, for both the woman and her family) surrendered her virginity willingly, then found out the man she was with treated her contemptuously like a one-night stand with no intention of marrying her, of course she would be "wroth"! Shechem spoke to heart, saying exactly what he told B'nei Ya'akov - that he cared for Dinah, wanted to marry her, and was willing to make tremendous sacrifices for her. While I understand your point, and I think it's a fair interpretation, it works just as well from the other side.

"Radak is likely basing himself on *other* textual cues, such as Shechem "taking" her, the parallel to the two Sarah instances, the parallel to Yehuda and Tamar, that the brothers had to use trickery and battle in order to get her back in the end, and so on. all this would exist even if the word vayaaneha did not exist in the Torah."

This I do not understand at all. What textual cues? The word "vayikach"? There is simply no evidence it means by force, and strong evidence it doesn't. The parallel to Yehudah and Tamar? There was no rape there! I don't understand how any parallels to any other case can support the view of rape.

Cheers (and shabbat shalom),

joshwaxman said...

i don't have time to respond at the moment, but just to clarify -- I made a typo above. it should have referred to the parallel to *Amnon* and Tamar.

shabbat shalom,


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