One of the most distressing stories in Bereishit is the horrifying kidnapping of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah.
After she has been violated by her kidnapper, Shechem, he and his father tried to convince Jacob and his sons to allow them to keep her as Shechem’s wife.
The shocking conclusion to the story, with the violent devastation of the entire city of Shechem by Jacob’s sons, Shimon and Levi, reverberated long after it occurred.
Why did this episode happen? Did Dinah do something wrong? Why was Jacob silent when faced with his daughter’s kidnappers? What did the brothers intend when they suggested for every man in the city to have themselves circumcised? Why was Jacob so angry with his two sons for wiping out the male population of Shechem? What did they mean with their cryptic response to his criticism?
Rabbi Dunner looks at the narrative as it appears in the Torah, examines what the Midrash and commentaries have to add, and offers an insightful understanding of this disturbing event.