Kenneth Cohen

Revenge in Sanctification of G-d

The Maggid from Dubnov discussed the reprimand of Yakov to Shimon and Levi, before his death. He tells them, “In their conspiracy against Shechem, my wish was not consulted.”

Rashi says that there is a hint in these words, to the incident of Zimri, a descendant of Shimon. This is when he sinned with a Midianite princess, that led to a plague, that cost the lives of 24,000 men from Shimon’s tribe.

The Maggid explained that Yakov Avinu was very disturbed by Shimon and Levi’s actions. He understood that they were trying to bring honor to their sister. But he wasn’t sure if they acted out of personal revenge, or if they did it to defend G-d’s honor.

When Yakov saw in the future that there was a major blemish from Shimon’s descendant, he concluded that their actions were not entirely pure.

When one wages war against the enemy of the Jewish people, it is also a war against the G-d of the Jewish people. The fight against this enemy, must have emphasis on restoring Hashem’s honor as well. If Hamas actually feared G-d, they would not dare attack His children. This war is meant to be fought with such purity and resolve, that in the end, the world will know not to mess with the G-d of Israel.

We are moving in that direction, as our holy soldiers seem to understand that this is a major part of this battle. The awakening of the majority of our people, to come closer to G-d is an indication, that we will achieve this goal. Just as Pharaoh made a terrible mistake by asking, “Who is this G-d that I shall listen to His voice. I don’t know this G-d.” He received his answer with ten devastating plagues. Now it is the turn of Hamas, to receive the response as Pharoah!

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at