Friday, December 08, 2006

vindicating 2, indicting 9

Parshat Va'Yishlah

In response to Shchem having his way with Dina, Yaakov's sons make a deal with Shchem that all the people of the town should be circumcised. On the 3rd day after the circumcision, the passuk tells us in 34:25 the two sons of Yaakov, Shimon and Levi, the brothers of Dina came to the city and destroyed..

There is a general criticism of their actions, though it is unclear as to the nature of the criticism. Some meforshim say they were wrong in taking such harsh action, others say they were right. Did Yaakov agree, or did he not. It is all very unclear.

I heard a dvar Torah on the topic yesterday in which it was brought down from some meforshim that the criticism was based on the fact that after they killed everybody in town it then says that they looted the city of its possessions. The fact that they looted the city indicated that their reaction might not have been completely lshem shamayim, but might have had a tinge of intent for personal gain. That lack of 100% clarity is what made Yaakov criticize them.

I was looking the section over again today and I noticed something in the way the story is written.

In passuk 25 it tells us specifically that the two sons of Yaakov, Shimon and Levi, went and killed everyone, etc..
In passuk 26 it concludes by saying they took Dina and left.
In passuk 27 it says the children of Yaakov came and looted the city.

I would like to suggest that Shimon and Levi came and destroyed the city killing all the inhabitants. They then retrieved Dina from her captivity and left. They took her home. Then the other brothers, having seen that the city was destroyed, came and looted the town.

Shimon and Levi were not the ones looting the town. I think the common perception that the whole story here was Shimon and Levi is incorrect. I think based on the text that Shimon and Levi only retrieved Dina, destroying the city in the process. The loot was taken by the others.

That would vindicate Shimon and Levi from any suggestions that there kavanos were improper. They were lshem shamayim, and that is whay Yaakov only criticized their anger and haste, and not the actions.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

new parsha? never heard of that one.

Rafi G said...

thanks for pointing it out