1. It is axiomatic that all created things have many and varied properties and facets. This is so because the Holy One, Blessed be He, invested the creative force of every being with “the nature and essence of the Blessed Emanator” (Tanya, Iggeres Hakodesh 20). Just as the Blessed Ein Sof (Omnipotent) is the all-inclusive perfection, encompassing infinite spheres of perfection, similarly in the created works of the Creator there will be a vestige of this broad infinity and multifariousness.

Let us study this principle for a moment. Careful observation will reveal the transferal of the traits and “spirit” of a human inventor, builder, or artist into his works. The created work will project the talent and character of the human “creator.” Upon careful study, the truth of this phenomenon will become obvious and logic will also agree that it should be so. Using this truth as a paradigm we will logically project this same trait, anthropomorphically, on the Creator of heaven and earth, and we will deduce that the perfection of G‑d’s traits must in some way be involved in His handiwork — the creations.

Of course you may counter this, by arguing that since human intellect is itself only a created thing, made by the Holy One, Blessed be He, it cannot confine G‑d’s attributes to its rules of logic. Therefore, even if our intellect says that G‑d’s powers are mirrored in His creations — it may not actually be the case; being that G‑d is “incapable of any impossibility” — creation may or may not follow the rules of human logic.

To this argument there is an answer in Torah. G‑d has revealed to us in his Torah that it “arose in His will” to create the world in a manner that will be comprehensible to man — within the rules of supernal logic (in the World of Emanation); and even in accordance with human logic, for “the Torah speaks in the language of men” (Berachos 31b, and Rambam, Laws of the Basic Principles of Torah 1:9). We must also remember, that “the Holy One blessed be He desired to have an abode in the lower worlds” (Tanya 36) — which indicates to us that human intellect in the “lower worlds” is of primary importance to G‑d; it is “the purpose of the creation of this world” (Ibid).

Knowing that it is G‑d’s will that creation should follow the rules of human logic we may now deduce — definitely — that the created beings are similar to, and are modeled after, the pattern of, the Creator.

This same principle will also apply in all cases where we use our human understanding to project rules of logic for the action of the Holy One, Blessed be He. For example: The axiom which dictates that the Creator renews the act of creation at every instant — ex nihilo (See Tanya, Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah).

Although the Omnipotent One is “incapable of any impossibilities” and therefore is actually not bound by our reasoning concerning “creation ex nihilo,” nevertheless, because it is the desire of the Holy One, Blessed be He, that creation shall follow the rules of human logic we have the right to logically deduce the axiom of “continuous creation.”

There is another area of philosophical discussion where this approach might shed some helpful light.

Very often in Midrashic literature we find the expression: “Mashal — by way of example (parable) — this may be compared to a human king....”

At first glance, is it proper to say that G‑d acts in a certain way because a human king functions in that manner?! On the contrary, it might be that the human king functions in a certain way because his actions mirror the Supernal King, as the Gemara says:

The earthly royalty [is made] on the model of the heavenly royalty. (Berachos 58a)

But we cannot say that the conduct of earthly royalty is a proof or reason for heavenly royalty! One possible way to reconcile this concept of “mashal” is to say that it is not really a reason but only an example; when we see the earthly king act thusly, we project that probably the same is true above.

But is this the true meaning of the term “mashal”? The correct use of “mashal” in rabbinic writing is the introduction of a parable which explains the reason for the case in question.

Now that we have established that it is G‑d’s will to follow the rules of human logic in His pattern of creation, we are given the right to use the “mashal” of an earthly king, as follows. Because the human king acts in such a manner, it follows that the conduct of the Holy One, Blessed be He, must also be in the same style. For G‑d willed that His actions must be understood in the earthly sphere.

Back to our topic. In this light we may presume that all created beings are modeled after the Creator and therefore all created beings have many properties and facets.

This Shabbos, therefore, has many facets and themes. With what shall we begin?

In Torah Or at the end of Vayeishev there is a discussion of the holiday of Chanukah, and specifically of the 24th of Kislev (today):

The war concluded on the 24th of Kislev and then the miracle took place on the 25th of Kislev, the day on which they rested.

This is based on the Gemara which discusses the holiday of Chanukah and explains:

What is [the reason of] Chanukah?... On the 25th of Kislev [commence] the days of Chanukah, which are eight.... For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they defiled all the oils therein, and when the Hasmonean dynasty prevailed against and defeated them.... (Shabbos 21b)

The Meiri explains that:

The military victory occurred on the 24th of Kislev.

From which it follows that the holiday was set for the 25th of Kislev, the day after the battle, which was the day on which they found respite from their enemies.

The Rambam, however, holds a different view. He writes:

The day on which the Israelites were victorious over their enemies and destroyed them was the 25th day of Kislev. (Laws of Chanukah 3:2)

According to the Rambam’s opinion the holiday was set on the day of the victorious battle and not on the day they rested.

We are now faced with the dilemma of how can we reconcile the explanation given in Torah Or, that the war ended on the 24th, with the Rambam who says that it ended in victory on the 25th.

Actually there is another ponderation. The Rambam writes:

The Israelites were victorious over the enemies ... when they reentered the Temple, they found within its precincts only one cruse of ritually pure (tahor) oil, enough to burn for but a single day. Yet they kept alight with it the required number of lamps for eight days, until they could press some olives and produce new ritually pure oil. (Ibid.)

If the Rambam holds that the war ended on the 25th, clearly they dedicated and kindled the Menorah in the late afternoon of the 25th, on the eve of the 26th (See Rambam, Laws of Daily Sacrifices 3:10-12).

If so, why did the sages institute that we should light the Chanukah candles on the eve of the 25th and not on the eve of the 26th as was the case then!?

In the past, this question has been answered by explaining that in the Holy Temple the rule was that the night was considered as following the day. Under all other conditions we follow the rule that the day follows the previous evening. Therefore, when they kindled the Menorah in the afternoon of the 25th (and it burned into the night) it was for the day of the 25th and when we observe the holiday, in order to light candles for the 25th day of Kislev we must kindle them the previous evening and not on the eve of the 26th.

Here, however, we are trying to reconcile the Rambam’s opinion with Torah Or and we are endeavoring to understand the inner Chassidic meaning of the 24th of Kislev.

In addition to Torah Or this subject is also discussed in Likkutei Torah where Chassidus explains the difference between the miracle and holiday of Pesach and the miracles and holidays of Purim and Chanukah. The miracle of Pesach came as a result of the revelation of the transcendental light of the Ein Sof while the miracles of Chanukah and Purim were effected by a revelation of the immanent light.

This immanent light cannot be revealed and cannot come to rest until the external negative forces are eliminated ... therefore it took two days. On one day the forces of evil were repulsed and then on the morrow the revelation came. All this was because it was in a manner of immanent light which must come in an orderly fashion. First stage removal, etc. Both stages cannot be effected simultaneously. (Torah Or)

On the other hand,

The miracle of Pesach took place through the revelation of the transcendental light which has no stages ... therefore both aspects could occur at once: the destruction of the Egyptians, the plague of the firstborn and the revelation of holiness from the Jews ... all at one time. (Likkutei Torah)

According to this interpretation the miracle of Chanukah had to be divided between two days, the 24th and 25th. How can this be reconciled with the Rambam who says that the victory in battle took place on the same day as the miracle of the Menorah.

Another point to ponder.

The style of the Alter Rebbe and the Mitteler Rebbe in their Chassidic discourses leaned mainly to pure Chassidic philosophy. The Tzemach Tzedek’s style, however, very often blended Talmudic or Midrashic material into his Chassidic discourses and fused the two aspects into one.

It is therefore very strange that we do not find the Tzemach Tzedek dealing with this question of the contradiction between the Chassidic, esoteric interpretation and the Halachah in the Rambam.

At the same time, we cannot circumvent the Rambam by saying that his opinion is only a minor or unimportant view. The Rambam was compared to Moshe, and the cliché — “Moshe is true and his Torah is true” applies to the Rambam, Moshe ben Maimon, as well as Moshe Rabbeinu. We must therefore seek an answer to this dilemma.

The esoteric explanation which puts the victory on the 24th and the miracle and holiday on the 25th takes, for its central theme, the principle, that because the miracle came from the spiritual level of “immanent light” the two stages could not occur simultaneously. There is no reason that we cannot also say that the victory and miracle took place on the same day, so long as we acknowledge that there was time in between. In other words, the Rambam’s opinion can fall within the context of the Chassidic explanation of the Chanukah miracle.

According to this view, the victory was won on the morning of the 25th, at that time the forces of evil were eliminated — then later in the day the Hasmoneans came to the Holy Temple, cleansed it and searched for ritually pure oil. When they found one cruse of tahor oil they kindled the Menorah in the afternoon and immediately the miracle began — which was the revelation of G‑dliness in an immanent way — the second stage of revelation. Thus, in the inner philosophical meaning of the miracle of Chanukah all is reconciled. There does remain a legitimate difference of opinion as to when the battle ended; was it on the 24th, as the Meiri and then the Alter Rebbe conclude halachically, or was it on the 25th as the Rambam holds.

This discussion will illuminate another interesting and fundamental aspect of Chassidic philosophy.

We have noted that in the Torah Or essays about Chanukah the Alter Rebbe explains that the miracle of Chanukah came about through the revelation of the immanent light and therefore the victory was on one day and the miracle and holiday a day later.

In Likkutei Torah, in the essays on Pesach, the Alter Rebbe compares the holiday of Pesach to Chanukah and Purim. He emphasizes the superior quality of Pesach over Chanukah and Purim, in that the Pesach liberation came from the revelation of the transcendental light and, therefore, the punishment of the Egyptians and the revelation of G‑dliness to the Jews took place at the same instant. The holiday of Pesach is therefore celebrated on the day of the destruction of the Egyptians, whereas the holidays of Chanukah and Purim are celebrated on the anniversary day of the respite from the enemies. This is the loftier aspect of Pesach over Chanukah and Purim.

The essay on Pesach (which was probably originally spoken on Pesach) makes a lot of sense, for it follows the Chassidic style of elaborating on the special qualities of the particular day or event. However, the discourse on Chanukah (which was also most certainly spoken on Chanukah) seems strangely out of place — why emphasize the weakness of an event or observance on that day?

Here we will see how precise and exact are the words and teachings of our Rebbeim. Look again at the two texts. About Pesach, before going into the interpretation (see above) it says:

We must understand why the holiday of Pesach was set on the day of the miracle, while the holidays of Purim and Chanukah were set on the following day when they rested. (Likkutei Torah)

Here he specifically stresses the quality of Pesach over Chanukah and Purim, which is fine. During Pesach we should compare and find the qualities of Pesach over all other times.

Now look at the text of Torah Or. There too, after the long philosophical discourse the Alter Rebbe states:

And this is the theme of the Chanukah miracle (as well as Purim): first there was a battle and then the miracle on the day of respite. (Torah Or)

As you may have noted, here the Alter Rebbe did not mention Pesach as a comparison to Chanukah, rather he speaks only of the concept of the miracle of Chanukah. Comparing it to Pesach would have stressed the inferiority of the Chanukah miracle as compared to Pesach and this is not appropriate in a discourse spoken on Chanukah!

In fact, the inner meaning of the miracle of Chanukah is presented in that essay as having a great and important quality, compared to the superiority of Jewish souls above angels.

The G‑dly soul must rule the animal soul and this is accomplished by “beating with a staff ... etc.,” which relates it to the story of Chanukah where first there was a battle and then, after victory, the miracle occurred and the holiday was proclaimed.

All this leads us to the action which we must do on this day the 24th of Kislev. It is Erev Chanukah — and although we may not make actual preparations for lighting the menorah on Shabbos,

We may attend to communal matters on Shabbos. (Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Orach Chayim 306:12)

This includes encouragement in the actions connected with Chanukah as well as the lessons we may derive from the holiday of Chanukah.

When we light the Chanukah candles there are several points to keep in mind.

(A) We must increase light every night.

(B) The Chanukah lights must be kindled at the outside door of the house.

This gives us a directive in allareas of Torah and mitzvos: (A) to always increase holiness and (B) to reach out and spread Yiddishkeit outside of one’s own home to those who are still outside. This, too, must also see a continual increase.

By accepting these good resolutions, may G‑d grant us the immediate reward — the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach.

Chanukah is associated with the number eight. There are eight days and we light eight candles, this is so despite the fact that the Menorah in the Temple had seven branches. This aspect of eight connects Chanukah with the time of Mashiach when the “harp” will have eightstrings.

The Gemara also explains, on the verse in Michah,

Then shall we raise up against him seven shepherds and eight princes among men (Michah 5:4). Who are the seven shepherds — David ... and who are the “princes among men”? Yishai, Shaul ... Mashiach and Eliyahu. (Sukkah 52b)

Chassidus explains that the eight candles of Chanukah symbolize the “eight princes among men.”

So may it truly be:

We should be granted the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach, and then we will experience the true Chanukah; the dedication of the Third Beis HaMikdash, may it be soon and immediately — with joy and gladness of heart.

* * *

2. The name of every Torah portion generally reflects the theme of the entire portion. In the case of Vayeishev there seems to be a contradiction. The term “Vayeishev” would seem to indicate undisturbed, peaceful settlement. The story which the Torah relates in the portion of Vayeishev tells of just the opposite. This paradox is poignantly encapsulated by Rashi in his comment on the word “Vayeishev”:

And he dwelt — Yaakov wished to live at ease, but the trouble in connection with Yosef suddenly came upon him. (Rashi, Bereishis 37:2)

This means that the term “Vayeishev” refers not to the reality, but only to Yaakov’s wishes. In reality however he did not abide in ease, and the trouble connected with Yosef suddenly came upon him.

Since this is the case, why should the whole portion be given the name Vayeishev — it is misleading!

Let us refer back for a moment to the redemption of Yud-Tes Kislev which we commemorated this past week. The theme of Yud-Tes Kislev was symbolized by the verse, “Podoh Besholom — You have redeemed my soul in peace.” The most obvious deduction we learn from this verse is that if there was a redemption there had to be an earlier condition of trouble or imprisonment.

Let us compare these two subjects. The negative situation for which the “redemption” was necessary may be compared to the trouble of Yosef and the redemption in peace can be compared to Vayeishev — Yaakov’s hope to dwell in tranquility.

At first glance this comparison might seem unbalanced. In the case of Yud-Tes Kislev, first the Alter Rebbe was imprisoned and then he was redeemed. In Vayeishev first there was the wish for tranquility and then the trouble of Yosef. However, a careful study of the subject will reveal that here in Vayeishev Yaakov’s true, tranquil abode will be attained after the trouble of Yosef.

The truth of course is, that Yaakov’s wish for tranquility was eventually fulfilled beyond his own expectations and Yosef’s “trouble” actually served as a catalyst and helped bring it about.

Looking ahead a bit we realize that Yosef’s trouble eventually set the stage for Yaakov and his family to emigrate to Egypt under honorable conditions. Pharaoh, himself, sent Egyptian carriages to transport Yaakov’s family, and Yaakov even blessed Pharaoh. We also know that the verse:

Yaakov made Egypt his home for 17 years, (Bereishis 47:28)

has been interpreted to mean that Yaakov’s best years were in Egypt. As the Zohar puts it:

The Holy One, Blessed be He, gave him, in return, 17 years that he lived in Egypt with joy, honor and perfection in all things. (Zohar I, 180b)

So that Yaakov’s desire to live in ease — “Vayeishev,” was eventually fulfilled in the fullest measure after the trouble of Yosef.

Thus, it appears that it is appropriate to name the portion “Vayeishev.” Not only was the trouble of Vayeishev not a contradiction, but it was also a means to reach true peace. In fact, Yaakov attained a superior level of ease and tranquility — after the trouble — as only G‑d could prescribe. Only G‑d knows the true essence of peacefulness. Yaakov had only asked for ease as he had understood it, but G‑d gave him tranquility as He understood it.

We can find other examples of this system.

In our prayers we say, “in Your abounding mercies have compassion on us” (Siddur). Are we only asking for the huge quantity of G‑d’s mercies? No! Chassidus explains that what we are asking is that G‑d should use Hislevel of mercy to evaluate what we really need — beyond our limited evaluation. We don’t even know how great the pity on us is. So we ask for “G‑d’s mercies.”

Similarly, when we pray that the Holy One, Blessed be He, bless us,

[from His] ... full, open, holy and generous hand, (Grace after Meals)

we are not asking only for the immense quantity of G‑d’s “generous hand,” rather we beseech G‑d to bless us according to the evaluation that only He can make. For only He truly knows what the “full, open, holy and generous hand” holds in store for us. There may be many blessings which we do not request because we simply do not understand that we lack those things. So we ask G‑d to measure our true needs and then bless us according to His bounty.

Yaakov’s desire to live at ease was answered by G‑d to the fullness of G‑d’s evaluation, and he eventually received the loftiest level of tranquility. This is the import of the term “Vayeishev.”

At this point an additional puzzle crops up.

Yaakov symbolized the attribute of “emes” — truth; “You give truth unto Yaakov” (Michah 7:20). Now, when Yaakov desired to dwell in ease he certainly knew that it was truly the time for him to reach the state of tranquility. How then is it possible that he should have misjudged his condition and not realize that he still had to undergo the “troubles” of Yosef?

But the answer is that Yaakov did not miscalculate, after what he had gone through he truly deserved to be at ease: twenty years of exile in the home of Lavan, the physical suffering and hardships of those twenty years, being chased by Lavan and having to answer to his arguments. At this point he certainly deserved the peace.

But the Holy One, Blessed be He, planned a higher tranquility for Yaakov, which could only come after the “trouble” of Yosef.

With this in mind we may also solve a problem that came to light in the portion of Vayishlach.

We had discussed the esoteric explanation of the purpose of the messengers which Yaakov sent to Eisav. Yaakov thought that Eisav had risen to his spiritual source and he was therefore ready to accompany Eisav to the redemption. The question is, if Yaakov is the attribute of truth — how could he have been so mistaken about Eisav??

The answer is, that Yaakov had reached the level that he was ready for redemption — so much so that he could accept Eisav in whatever state he would be. Although he hoped that Eisav had been refined, he made no mistakes about Eisav’s condition. The only hitch was that the Holy One, Blessed be He, had decided that the time was not ripe for the redemption. It could not come until Yaakov had experienced the true descent of galus — and Yaakov himself still had to undergo the torment of the trouble with Yosef.

We may draw an analogy to this from the exile in Egypt. On the verse:

[Daber Na] — Now speak to the people discreetly and let each man request from his friend gold and silver articles. Let every woman make the same requests of her friends, (Shemos 11:2)

the Gemara notes:

The word “Na” means: I pray (please). The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moshe: “Please go and tell Israel, ‘please’ borrow from the Egyptians vessels of silver and vessels of gold, so that the righteous man (Avraham) may not say ‘And they shall enslave them and they shall afflict them,’ He did fulfill for them but ‘And afterwards shall they come out with great substance,’ He did not fulfill for them.” They said to him, “If only we could get out with our lives! ... let us go free today and we shall ask nothing more.” (Berachos 9b)

In other words, the people were ready to relinquish any claims to riches — so long as they would leave their Egyptian bondage a day earlier. G‑d, however, kept them in bondage longer, to allow them the additional blessing of the greatriches.

If after 210 years of bondage we were not ready for the Exodus, until every last detail was carried out to get the vessels of gold and silver from the Egyptians, then certainly, when Yaakov returned from Lavan, despite his personal readiness for redemption, it was simply not yet the time. Yaakov had not yet gone through all of the levels of descent to allow the redemption to be very great.

This is why in the prophecy of the redemption the Prophet Yeshayahu says:

O L‑rd I will praise You because You were angry with me; (Yeshayahu 12:1)

the troubles brought a greater redemption.

How does this apply to us.

So long as the redemption has not come we must follow Yaakov’s example: “Yaakov wished to live at ease.” We must wish and pray and demand that Mashiach should come.

Might not the “sly one” (evil prompter) come and argue: “Why make such a fuss about your desire for redemption? Yaakov tried and failed — the Jews in Egypt tried and they still had to stay till the preordained time. What will your agitation help?”

“In fact,” he continues, “your noise could bring the opposite results. See what happened to Yaakov — he had to suffer the trouble of Yosef.”

The yetzer hora goes on to quote the Rashi: Why? Look into Rashi: The Holy One, Blessed be He, says:

Are not the righteous satisfied with what is stored up for them in the world to come that they wish to live at ease in this world too! (Ibid.)

What must the wise Jew answer the “sly one”? “All of your arguments are stale. The Torah already informed us of all this before you came along with this reasoning.” In the case of Yaakov, or the Jews in Egypt, G‑d had a reason for prolonging the troubles — to reach the point of greater reward. Now, however, after thousands of years of exile and all the terrible troubles that we have endured — we have already reached the point that G‑d can give us the greatest redemption with the loftiest rewards. Therefore, we cry out, “How long — end the galus!”

No one can try to convince us that there is something to gain by remaining in galus. The great sages have ruled in Halachah that we must pray for the redemption, and we see it printed clearly in the Siddur -

Speedily cause the scion of Dovid Your servant to flourish; (Amidah)

no one can convince us otherwise.

And our prayers will be effective, as the Chida writes, that becausewehope, thereforeMashiachwillcomesooner.

May we leave the galus with our youth and elders, our sons and daughters, the complete nation, to the complete land, speedily and truly in our days.

* * *

3. Last week we left the question on Rashi unanswered.

Leah’s daughter Dinah ... went out, (Bereishis 34:1)

Rashi commented:

But, just because she “went out” she is called Leah’s daughter, since she, too, was fond “of going out”.... (Rashi, loc. cit.)

The following questions were raised: Since “the memory of the righteous is blessed” (Mishlei 10:7), why does the Torah associate the undesirable event that happened with Dinah to the righteous Leah? And furthermore, why does Rashi go so far as to say that “with allusion to her they formulated a proverb, ‘Like mother like daughter’“? Making a proverb of the story would indicate that for all generations this relationship will be taught even to simple minds.

In this week’s portion we come across a similar problem. In the passages dealing with Zarach’s birth the word “yad — hand” is mentioned four times:

As she was in labor, one of them put out an arm ... tied a crimson thread on his arm ... He pulled his hand back ... with the crimson thread on his hand.... (Bereishis 38:28-30)

Rashi comments:

“With the crimson thread on his hand.” The word “yad — hand” is written here four times corresponding to the four acts of sacrilege which Achan, who was a descendant of Zarach, committed with his hand. Others say these correspond to the four things which he took with his hand of the spoils of Yericho: a Babylon garment, two hundred-shekel pieces, and a wedge of gold. (Rashi, loc. cit.)

Rashi had previously mentioned that both Zarach and Peretz would grow up to be righteous, if so, why would the Torah want to hint at the time of the birth of Zarach at undesirable activities done by a descendant — Achan — many years later.

The question in this case is even stronger than in the case of Dinah and Leah. There, an undesirable event actually took place with Dinah — our question was, why attach it to the righteous Leah? Concerning Dinah we may only presume that she was righteous — at least she was very young and not responsible.

But in the case of Zarach nothing bad happened — he was only born. And, at his birth we are told that he was and would be righteous — why attach to him the guilt of a sacrilegious act which took place hundreds of years later.

On the questions concerning Dinah some answers were presented and although the initial premise was correct, they did not follow through.

The gist of the answer is that Rashi’s purpose and intention in comparing Dinah to Leah is not to show a negative aspect — on the contrary — Rashi wants to indicate a genuine quality and positive aspect in the character of Dinah.

Read the Rashi again. And think positive. It makes sense — especially if we remember what Rashi had commented in connection with the verse: “And Leah went out to meet him,”

And G‑d hearkened unto Leah: for she eagerly desired and sought means to increase the number of the tribes. (Rashi, ibid. 30:16)

That was Leah’s reason for “going out” to meet Yaakov.

This now explains the comparison Rashi makes between Dinah and Leah — his intention is to tell us that both had the good attribute of going out for good reasons. But, we must find this same good intention in Dinah’s conduct. Can we find this?

Let us see.

When the Torah related the story of the meeting of Yaakov and Eisav Scripture noted:

He got up and took his two wives ... and his eleven sons. (Ibid. 32:22)

Rashi asked:

But where was Dinah? He placed her in a chest and locked her in, so that Eisav should not set his fancy upon her (desire to marry her). On this account Yaakov was punished because he had kept her away from his brother for she might have led him back to the right path. She therefore fell into the power of Shechem. (Ibid., loc. cit.)

This evokes a powerful question.

(A) Why should Yaakov have placed his daughter in a dangerous situation on the presumption that “she might have led him back”; pure speculation! Why was he punished measure for measure, that she “fell into the power of Shechem”?

(B) In fact, we find the same type of protective conduct in the case of Rachel and there it is lauded: Again Rashi:

Yosef and Rachel stepped near: In the case of all the others the mothers approached before the children, but in the case of Rachel, Yosef came in front of her. He said “My mother is a beautiful woman; for fear that this wicked man will set his fancy on her I will stand in front of her and prevent him from gazing at her.” As a reward for this Yosef merited the blessing associated with words “Alli Ayin — with the eye.” (Rashi 33:7)

If this manner of conduct was acceptable in the case of Rachel and Yosef to the degree that he was blessed, why was it not acceptable in the case of Dinah to the degree that Yaakov was punished?

Because of this question we must deduce that, on the contrary, Dinah’s power was so great — much greater than Rachel’s — that she could have certainly brought Eisav back to the right path. Therefore Yosef did the right thing and Yaakov did not.

You may still ask, why does Rashi use the term “she might have led him back,” which indicates that an evaluation of her powers leads us to the questionable possibility? [Here we will use a bit of reverse reasoning.] Being that we see that Yaakov was punished for hiding her, we must say that she was definitely capable of converting Eisav — if not — why the punishment? The reason Rashi says “she might” is because ultimately the actual teshuvah would have depended on Eisav — we cannot take away his free will. So Rashi is only allowed to say “she might” even though we know that she really had the ability to do it.

Now that we know Dinah’s great powers and potentials, when the Torah tells us:

Dinah ... went out to see among the daughters of the land,

we can assume that she had good intentions, to reach out to the local girls and to bring them back to the right path. We may deduce this a minori ad majus: if she had the power to convert Eisav, she could surely influence the local girls.

We have explained the Rashi dealing with Dinah, but our question about Zarach and Peretz still stands as we can find no positive aspect in mentioning the sin of Achan — why does Rashi bring it?

There was another question we raised concerning the use of the words “to see the daughters of the land,” why not say the “daughters of Shechem,” or, “of the city”? It may be answered by thinking of what could have motivated Rashi to seek an explanation for the fact that Dinah “went out.” Actually it should be quite normal for children to “go out” and meet the local children. If the verse had said “Shechem” or “the city,” Rashi would not have brought the explanation connecting her to Leah.

But, when the Torah tells us that Dinah went out to the “daughters of the land,” we are dealing with an abnormal situation, why should she go so far out to seek out the many daughters of the land? The answer. She was like her mother who had a good intention in going out and she wanted to bring all the daughters of the land to the right path.

[Note: The last two paragraphs of this sichah were taken from the sichah of Shabbos Mikeitz, 5746.]