Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayishlach

It's Never Too Late

By Rabbi Pinchas Avruch

"And [Shechem] became deeply attached to Dina, daughter of Yaakov (Jacob); he loved the maiden and appealed to the maiden's emotions.Chamor spoke with [Yaakov and his sons] saying, 'Shechem, my son, longs deeply for your daughter; please give her to him for a wife.'.[Shechem] did not delay doing the [circumcision, a precondition to marriage] for he wanted Yaakov's daughter; now he was the most respected of all his father's household." (Beraishis/Genesis 34:3, 19) The Medrash (Beraishis Raba 80, 7) expounds that G-d's love for the Children of Israel is expressed in the same three terms as the love of this evil man: deep attachment, deep longing and wanting. Maharzu explains that initially the Torah simply stated that Shechem saw her and took her, like a bird that snatches a piece of unguarded flesh. But once he contemplated who she was and whose daughter she was, he was inspired to have a deep attachment to her, aside from his physical lust. He was deeply attached to Dina because she was the daughter of Yaakov, because he sensed within Yaakov an attachment to G-d.

After Shechem had violated Dina, he suddenly had a desire to cleave to her because of her holiness and G-d connectedness, a feeling so pure and genuine that it was akin to the love of G-d Himself for His Chosen Nation. And this wave of emotion had such a profound transformative impact as to motivate him to perform the very painful procedure of circumcision. How is it that Shechem - who lived an evil life, immersed in self indulgent gratification; who kidnapped and desecrated Dina because he saw her as nothing more than a "piece of flesh" for his own self fulfillment; who was one of the most immoral men on the face of the earth - had any desire to attach himself to Dina's inherent holiness?

Chidushei HaLev (1) concludes that Shechem's profound personal investment into life's profanities did not completely eradicate the refinement of his heart and the purity of his soul. He, like any human, was created in G-d's image and, thus, maintained the capability to not only recognize, but even to desire and pursue holiness. And if the source of that holiness is the woman whom he just violated, he was capable of completely eliminating his initial perspective of her and pursuing that holiness, such that his love for her contested G-d's for the Jewish Nation.

In the pursuit of spirituality, it is easy to reserve the quest for the righteous and to write-off those who appear to fail more than they succeed. Sad, for if one so spiritually pathetic as Shechem could tap into his greatness of person and purity of soul, then spiritual growth and achievement is indeed accessible to all. Further, we witness the importance of connecting to Torah personalities and mentors, for if the lowly Shechem was so profoundly impacted by Dina's casual interaction, imagine what we, the spiritually striving, can gain!

Have a Good Shabbos

(1) the ethical discourses of Rabbi Alter Henach Leibowitz, Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills, New York

Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies · 5007 West Keefe Avenue · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · 414-447-7999



View Complete List

Dealing with the Enemy
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

May I Have This Dance?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

The Time of Our Happiness
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5768

> What Ends Must Have Begun!
Shlomo Katz - 5773

All Beginnings Are Hard
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Starting Over
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Why Booths?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

One Word, One World
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

In the Image of G-d
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Success is a Lifelong Effort
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5761

In The Beginning
Shlomo Katz - 5763

A Walk in the Garden
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759


Great Expectations
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

A Fresh Start
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5775

The Oldest Lesson in History
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

The Source of Our Blessings
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information