No News is Jews News
By Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
Yaakov's family faced a tremendous crisis. While passing through the city
of Shechem, Dena, their sister was attacked and was violated by Shechem,
the son of King Chamor, who bore the same name as the city. Shechem later
claimed that he desperately wanted to marry her! No one in the entire city
brought the prince to justice and Yaakov's sons were not going to ignore
They were not ready for open warfare either, and so they developed a
ruse. They claimed that they were ready to form a harmonious relationship
with the entire population of the city of Shechem. "We will give our
daughters to you, and take your daughters to ourselves; we will dwell with
you, and become a single people" (Braishis 34:16). However, there was one
condition. Every male of Shechem had to circumcise. Yaakov's children
insisted that it would be a disgrace for the daughters of Abraham to marry
uncircumcised men. Upon direction from King Chamor and Prince Shechem the
entire town agreed, and three days later, when the people of Shechem were
in painful recuperation from their surgery, Yaakov's children avenged
Dina's honor. Despite Yaakov's consternation, they attacked the male
population and wiped them out.
The question is simple: Why ask the people of Shechem to circumcise? If
Yaakov's children wanted to attack them, why go through a process of
converting them? They should have asked them to fast for three days. That
would have made them even weaker. They could have asked them to hand over
all their weapons. Why ask them to do an act is so blatantly Jewish?
On September 30, 2000, the word intafada was almost unknown to the average
American. And then the riots began. On one of the first days of what has
now been over three years of unceasing violence, against innocent Israelis,
The New York Times, Associated Press and other major media outlets
published a photo of a young man who looked terrified, bloodied and
battered. There was an Israeli soldier in the background brandishing a
billy-club. The caption in everyone of the papers that carried the photo
identified the teen as an innocent Palestinian victim of the riots -- with
the clear implication that the Israeli soldier was the one who beat
him. The world was in shock and outrage at the sight of the poor teen,
blood oozing from his temple crouching beneath the club-wielding Israeli
policeman. Letters of protest and sympathy poured in form the genteel
readers of the gentile world.
The victim's true identity was soon revealed. Dr. Aaron Grossman wrote the
NY Times that the picture of the Israeli soldier and the Palestinian on the
Temple Mount was indeed not a Palestinian. The battered boy was actually
his son, Tuvia Grossman, a Yeshiva student from Chicago. He, and two of
his friends, were pulled from their taxicab by a mob of Palestinian Arabs,
and were severely beaten and stabbed. The Israeli soldier wielding the
club was actually attempting to protect Tuvia from the vicious mob.
All of a sudden the outrage ceased, the brutal attack was almost ignored
and a correction buried somewhere deep amongst "all the news that is fit
to print" re-identified Tuvia Grossman as "an American student in
Israel." It hardly mentioned that he was an innocent Jew who was nearly
lynched by Arabs. This blatant hypocrisy in news coverage incidentally help launch a media
watchdog named Honest Reporting.com.
Rav Yonasan Eibeschitz, zt"l, explains that Yaakov's children knew
something that was as relevant in Biblical times as it is in today's "New
York" times. Yaakov's sons knew the secret of society. Have them
circumcised. Make them Jews. Then you can do whatever you want with them
and no one will say a word. You can wipe out an entire city -- as long as
it is not a gentile city. If Shechem had remained a gentile city had the
people not circumcised according the laws of Avraham then Yaakov's
children would have been condemned by the entire world. But Yaakov's
children knew better. They made sure that the Shechemites, went through a
Jewish circumcision. Shechem now was a Jewish city; and when a Jewish city
is destroyed, the story becomes as irrelevant as an American student
attacked by a Palestinian mob in Yerushalayim! Unfortunately it is that
simple and that old.
Copyright © 2003 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Torah.org.
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The author is the Rosh Yeshiva of the
Yeshiva Toras Chaim at South Shore and the author of the Parsha Parable series.
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