Friday, December 13, 2019


It Doesn’t Seem Fair

   by Reb gutman Locks   


     Shechem, the prince of his city, kidnaped Dinah and he defiled her, so obviously he deserved the punishment he received. But why were the residents of his city also killed? They did not defile Dinah?

     Actually, the citizens of that city were also guilty of defiling Dinah! The Torah testifies to this clearly; "The sons of Yacov came upon the slain and they plundered the city which had defiled their sister."[i]

     Why were those residents obligated for defiling Dinah, and why did they have to suffer circumcision, too?   

      As an example; when the Japanese air force bombed the US Navy in Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on the Japanese Nation, not just on the pilots who dropped the bombs or the generals who sent them. The citizens are obligated for what their leaders do. Likewise, the residents of Shechem were guilty for not forcing their prince to release Dinah. Had they done that, then only Shechem the prince would have been killed.

     And also, why was part of their punishment the pain of circumcision? Wasn't their death penalty enough?

     It is called mida keneged mida (This portion across from that portion) i.e. the first act brings about the following act. It was with that member of his body that the prince defiled Dinah.  

    But, if they were obligated for the death penalty, why was Yacov angry with the two brothers for having killed them? Yacov wasn't angry with the brothers for killing them. He was angry with them for having put him and his family in danger as the surrounding cities might have attacked them.

[i] Genesis 34:27 


  1. Reb Gutman

    I have heard a Rabbi say that Yaacov was not happy with his sons for attacking Shechem as it was regarded as "revenge", something we are not allowed to do.

    Can you elaborate please?

  2. I learned also that Yaakov Avinu was angry at them for putting their lives and the lives of their family in danger. The number three (3) is chizuk and an army should have no less 300 men to be sure of being able to overcome the enemy. They went out to avenge their sister's defilement, but should have been better prepared.


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