Vayishlach 5780-2019

“The Massacre of Shechem, Can it be Justified?”
(Updated and revised from Vayishlach 5760-1999)

The rabbis are challenged deeply by the rape of Dina and the subsequent massacre of the men of Shechem by Simeon and Levi. They try valiantly to explain why Dinah was fated to suffer so horribly. They also debate whether the actions of Simeon and Levi can in any way be justified.

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Kee Tisah 5779-2019

“The ‘Vengeful’ G-d”
(Revised and updated from Kee Tisah 5760-2000)

The last of the so-called “13 Attributes of G-d’s Mercy” is that G-d does not entirely cleanse sinners, and that He may be vengeful. If we are expected to imitate G-d, then perhaps we too should be vengeful?

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Kedoshim 5774-2014

“The Prohibition of Taking Revenge”

While it may be part of human nature to seek revenge, the Torah forbids acting on the desire for revenge, or to even bear a grudge.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5773-2013

“The Vengeful G-d--Revisited”

The last of the 13 Attributes of G-d’s mercy is that G-d will not completely cleanse sinners. Is the G-d of the Hebrew Bible a “vengeful G-d”?

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Vayishlach 5761-2000

"The Proper and Improper Use of Zealotry"

We read of the very painful and distressing story of the rape of Dinah, by the ruler of Shechem. Employing subterfuge in order to avenge the attack on their sister, Dinah's brothers, Simeon and Levi, demand that the men of the city be circumcised if they want to marry any Jewish women. While recovering from their surgery, the men are attacked by the sons of Jacob and killed. Jacob condemns Simeon and Levi for their violence and never seems to forgive them until the day of his death. However, the tribe of Simeon seems to bear that condemnation forever, whereas the tribe of Levi becomes the spiritual leader of Israel. Why their different fates?

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5760-2000

"The 'Vengeful' G-d"

The last of the so-called 13 attributes of G-d's mercy is that G-d does not entirely cleanse sinners and that He may be vengeful. If we are expected to imitate G-d, then perhaps we should be vengeful as well?

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Vayishlach 5760-1999

"The Massacre of Shechem: Can it be justified?"

The rabbis have a hard time with the rape of Dinah and the massacre of the men of Shechem. They try valiantly to explain why Dinah was fated to suffer so horribly. They also debate whether the actions of Simeon and Levi can in any way be justified.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes