Now this is a love story. A love story that did not have a happy ending.  It’s about Shekhem the prince of the Hivvites and Dinah, Isaac and Leah’s daughter.

The Torah says Shekhem forced her to go too far in the romance department.  But he was definitely in love with her. We know because the Torah says his emotions “clung to her.” Unfortunately, we don’t know how Dinah felt about Shekhem because the Torah doesn’t tell us.

Shekhem wanted to marry Dinah. His dad went to Isaac and Isaac’s sons and said: What will it take to make this match.

Isaac and his sons demanded that all the Hivvites must get circumcised.  Now circumcision is not such a big deal when a boy is a baby.  But for a grown man, it can be pretty painful. But Shekhem loved Dinah so, that he agreed.

Now here’s the not-happy ending.  Dinah’s brothers, Shimon and Levi, waited till the Hivvites were recovering from being circumcised.  They picked up their swords. They entered the city and killed all the Hivvite men.

I told you there was no happy ending!

The next part of the story is happier So far, God has promised to take care of Abraham.  God has made the same promise to Isaac.  Now it’s Jacob’s turn.

First God tells Jacob to build a slaughter-site, or altar, at Beth El, which means House of God. Now I know what you’re going to say.  “Eww, slaughtering animals!”  Well, not so fast!  How many hamburgers have you eaten in your life?  So think of it as a place to offer goat burgers to God.

Jacob goes to Beth El and this time, God tells Jacob directly that his name is Israel (God-Fighter). You remember, last time it was an angel who told him that.  Now we get it from the horse’s mouth. Like his dad and his granddad, Jacob learns that “a host of nations shall come from you.”

And our tradition has it that thousands of years later, you and I are part of that host!

God tells Jacob to build an altar to sacrifice to God