Medium: clay, multiple glazes, gold luster, acrylics and wax finish
accompanied by self standing acrylic ‘write up ‘
about 25″ tall x 12″ wide x 12″ deep
“Now Dina, Leah’s daughter by Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land”.
Genesis: Chapter 14
Dina’s violent story starts when her family moves back to Canaan. “Now Dina, Leah’s daughter by Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.” (Genesis 34:1). Shechem, son of Hamor, and prince of the land was so ‘taken’ with her that he forced himself on her (i.e. raped her).
She has been accused by rabbinic commentators of ‘gallivanting’ and being a ‘gadabout’ – basically being accused of having ‘asked for it’ not so very different from accusations of rape-victims of our own time. When her father, Jacob, hears of the rape he kept silent neither did he take any action, Leah, Dina’s mother, is inexplicably absent in the story. The story does tell of Dina’s brothers reaction clearly. Simon and Levy reacted to the rape of their sister thus: “Should our sister be treated like a whore?” (Genesis 34:31).
Simon and Levy proceeded to take revenge so terrible as to surpass even the “eye for an eye” and “tooth for a tooth” the standard of retribution set in the bible. They annihilated an entire community.
In an astonishing reversal the attacker’s lust turned to love and he asked his father “get me this girl as my wife!” In the Torah as well as in many countries of the Arab world today, a rapist was and is vindicated if he marries his victim.
One does wonder how Dina might have felt-did she fall in love as well?
Yet another didactic value of the story is: a warning that Hebrews were not to trust the peoples among whom they live and that women needed to be restricted in order to be safe. Dina was a tragic heroine.
I have portrayed Dina thus:
She is beautiful in an unconventional way – She has thrown back the veils that ought to cover her She squints as she looks back to whence she has come and then turns toward her future –She perhaps reinvents herself –Her name is on her veil – has it been thrown back as well?
Her brothers names live in the twelve tribes of Israel – hers does not –
…all that she carries are the twelve marks on her earings as well as the twelve squares in her veils design. Her hair tumbles in all its rich glory, out from under her veil for all to see –