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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Beresheet: Parashat Vayishlah: Where was Dinah?

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

We read that as Yaacob went before his brother Esav, that Yaacob had with him his eleven children. (32:23) The question here is clear. At this point in history, Yaacob had twelve children, one girl and eleven boys. Binyamin, the twelfth son, was born later. Why does the verse only speak about eleven children?

Rashi explains that Yaacob hid his daughter Dinah, because he did not want Esav to see her and desire her. Yaacob was ultimately punished for this, as we see later in the parasha, as Dinah is kidnapped by Shechem. Had Yaacob allowed his daughter to marry Esav, there was an opportunity for her to affect and change Esav for the better. Being that Yaacob denied this from happening, he was punished.

We can ask on this explanation of Rashi: How does Rashi know that it was Dinah that was missing? Maybe one of the sons that was missing, and the eleven children spoken of in the text are ten sons and Dinah, while one son hid?

The Gaon Mevilna explains that the answer is found in the Gemara. The Gemara teaches us that even though all the brothers had to bow to Esav, because they ultimately did bow, they did not merit to have the Bet Hamiqdash in their territory in Israel. Only Binyamin, who did not bow (because he was not yet born), merited to have the Bet Hamiqdash in his territory.

Here, before us, is the proof that all the sons were present and bowed to Esav.
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