Vayishlach November 30, 2017

As we continue to live through an avalanche of sexual harassment and sexual impropriety accusations and admissions among the most powerful men in American society, Torah portion Vayishlach comes to remind us that the “me too” hashtag is as old as time.  Not only does the parasha contain the story of the rape of Dinah in Gen. 34, but also the implied rape of Bilhah by Jacob’s son Reuben in Gen 35, and the continuation of Jacob’s simultaneous relationship with 4 women,  Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah, that we first encountered in last week’s parasha, Vayeitzei.   These stories are written from the vantage point of men, and the women’s account of what has happened to them is virtually non-existent.  Granted, different mores existed in ancient times.  But we are now only beginning to understand how society has successfully muted the voices of women  up to the present time when it comes to power and sex.  It is only because our mores have changed, even in the last two decades, that some women have acquired the courage to speak out.  May such courage be granted to all who have been wronged.

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