Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Who was the mother of דינה?

In last week's parsha (ויצא) we have the story of the birth of Dina. Rashi there comments (based on the Medrash) that Leah understood that she was pregnant with a boy and if she had another boy then Rachel would only have 1 of the shevatim, therefore she davened and Hashem made a miracle and turned the baby into a girl, Dina.

In Parshas ויגש, the Torah writes when it lists the descendents of Yaakov, ואת דינה בתו. Rashi comments (based on the Gemara in Nidda) that we see that the Torah calls Dina the daughter of Yaakov to show us that the father is responsible for having a daughter. The Maharsha there asks, what is the proof from Dina, after all Dina started off as a boy (per the medrash in ויצא) and therefore how can any proof be brought from Dina? He answers that the תרגום יונתן has a different peshat there. The תרגום יונתן says that both Leah and Rachel were pregnant, Leah was pregnant with Yosef and Rachel with Dina and miraculously the fetuses were switched. Therefore, Dina was always a girl and the proof from the pasuk is fine because Yaakov caused Dina to be a girl.

Rashi comments (based on the medrash) on the pasuk ושאול בן הכנענית, that after what happened with Shechem, Dina made Shimon promise to marry her. The Tur asks how could Shimon marry Dina? Even בני נח are not allowed to marry their sister from their mother. The Tur answers based on the תרגום יונתן that the Yosef and Dina were switched, and therefore על פי הלכה Leah was not Dina's mother, rather Rachel was and a בן נח is allowed to marry his sister from his father.

This Tur however, raises another question, what about Yosef? Who על פי הלכה is considered to be his mother? If it is Leah, then what good was the נס? Rachel still ended up with only 1 of the shevatim. Therefore we need to differentiate and say that both Dina and Yosef were Rachel's children.

When we consider how the halacha determines who the the mother of a baby is there are 3 possible alternatives:
1. Whoever conceives the child
2. Wherever the fetus is 40 days after conception (as until then it is considered מיא בעלמא and for example you are allowed to daven for the sex of the child)
3. Whoever gives birth

We see that the Tur cannot hold from 1 because even though Yosef was conceived by Leah he is considered Rachel's son. The Tur cannot hold from 3 either as the Tur holds that Dina was considered Rachel's daughter even though Leah gave birth to her. It would seem that the Tur holds like option 2.

With this we can say the following about Yosef. Leah was pregnant with Yosef but it was before 40 days while Rachel was pregnant with Dina and it was after 40 days. Therefore when they switched Yosef was less then 40 days so he was considered Rachel's son as on day 40 he was in Rachel's womb, while Dina had already passed day 40 in Rachel's womb so she was considered Rachel's daughter even though Leah gave birth to her.

It turns out according to the Tur that Rachel was the mother of both Dina and Yosef.

This Tur clearly has ramifications l'halacha with regards to surrogate mothers etc.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

but it says in posuk vateytza dina bas leah.
and the midrash does say that leah was a yatzonis, which implies spiritual motherhood too

very difficult pshat. I think a better resolution is to say that the tur holds that there are two mothers, which is a shita. And possibly one is more significant than the other.

Anonymous said...

"2. Wherever the fetus is 40 days after conception (as until then it is considered מיא בעלמא and for example you are allowed to daven for the sex of the child)"

I've never heard of this shita. Does anyone bring it l'halacha?

What if theoretically a fetus could be in test tube past 40 days and then implanted. Are you saying there then would be no mother?
I've only heard your options 1 & 3 and that there can be two mothers.

Anonymous said...

"And possibly one is more significant than the other."

iow, that leah's impact is not for arayos, but she's mentioned because she is also a mother and had spiritual impact on dina.

i think this is interesting as a halachic issue (what did the tur hold), but I find the other explanations offered more compelling (they were all geyrim, or the midrash that she married shimon conflicts with the man d'amar that a ben noach can't marry achoso meyimo, etc).





12:49 AM

Anonymous said...

I should add that IIRC those who hold l'halacha that there are two mothers I believe also hold that this counts for arayos, not like what I am positing the tur might hold.

bluke said...

Saying that there wer 2 mothers (which I have not heard of) doesn't answer the Tur's question. The Tur asked how could Shimon marry Dina if they have the same mother. If Dina had 2 mothers and one of them was Leah, then Shimon and Dina were brother and sister from the mother and they could not marry. According to the Tur you have to say that Leah was not Dina's mother.

bluke said...

The fact that the Torah calls Din bas Leah is not a question. In the eyes for the world Leah was her mother. Besides Leah, who knew that al pi din Dina was really Rachel's daughter? Leah would not tell anyone as it would be embarrassing to her sister. In addition, Leah raised Dina as her daughter and therefore she is called her mother by the Torah

bluke said...

The din of 40 days is brought down l'halacha with regards to a number of dinim.

A miscarriage within 40 days carries no tumat leidah nor does it necessitate the bringing of a korban.

A widowed bas cohen who was married to a yisrael is allowed to eat the terumah in her father's house for forty days following her husband's demise because even if she is pregnant, the ubar doesn't count as an entity of disqualification.

Some poskim hold that there is no issur to have an within 40 days.

The gemara in Berachos states that you can daven for the sex of the child until 40 days.

Anonymous said...

"Saying that there wer 2 mothers (which I have not heard of)"

I believe it's RSZAuerbach's position.

" doesn't answer the Tur's question. The Tur asked how could Shimon marry Dina if they have the same mother. If Dina had 2 mothers and one of them was Leah, then Shimon and Dina were brother and sister from the mother and they could not marry. According to the Tur you have to say that Leah was not Dina's mother."

I wsa positing that leah was not the mother as far as dinei arayos is concerned, but perhaps for other purposes was.

"The fact that the Torah calls Din bas Leah is not a question. In the eyes for the world Leah was her mother. Besides Leah, who knew that al pi din Dina was really Rachel's daughter? Leah would not tell anyone as it would be embarrassing to her sister. In addition, Leah raised Dina as her daughter and therefore she is called her mother by the Torah"

I find this unsatisfactory. (We all know that al pi din rachel was her mother, acc. to you - and they would have too, because she married shimon. How can you say this was private info, when we deduce it from the marriage?) And what are you positing - that she was a yatzanis because leah raised her to be one too? Chazal seem to see her as a literal mother

I'm aware of the 40 days - my question is whether anyone says explicitly that the person in whom the fetus is implanted at 40 days is the relevant mother (other than your speculation about the Tur). All the 40 days halachas are based on the idea that until 40 days there is nothing. Howver, at 40 days, no conception is taking place, so we aren't discussing a mother in that sense, and 40 days is also not birth. It would lead to very odd scenarios - for ex, acc. to you, if theoretically it is possible to transfer a fetus from one woman to another for a few days, one could theoretically have the woman who is neither the mother at conception or at birth as the "real" mother simply because she happened to be the one carrying the baby at the moment that the baby is considered to be viable. I'm not saying this isn't possible. But I've never heard anyone suggest such a thing l'ma'ase (perhaps because it's not practically relevant ATM).

anonymous said...

This may agree with your pov (see his rule #1):

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/clone1.html

See also RSZA's position