The Book of Judges and Duma

The Book of Judges, Chapter nineteen, tells the horrific story of the Concubine in Giva, where a band of lawless Benjamanites gang rape a certain Levite’s concubine all night long until she is found dead at the doorstep of the home where she and her husband were staying. Her body is cut into twelve pieces and sent to each of the twelve tribes. The reaction to this incident is found in verse thirty where it is written, “It happened that whoever saw it said, ‘Such a thing has never happened nor been seen since the day the Children of Israel went up from the Land of Egypt to this day! You must contemplate this, take counsel and speak up!”

What followed after the refusal of the Tribe of Benjamin to hand over the perpetrators, was a bitter civil war that took the lives of 25,000 from Benjamin and another 40,000 from the rest of the tribes of Israel, 65,000 killed altogether.

The story here has somewhat of a similarity to what allegedly transpired in Duma. While I’m not yet convinced that Jews actually committed this terrible crime, if they did, it is a most shameful act. I don’t believe there is a respectable rabbi anywhere who would condone taking the law into one’s hands and killing innocent people. We must be outraged at the thought that Jews could be capable of such an act. It should be taught and reiterated that this is not the Jewish way.

This should be viewed as an isolated incident of misguided youth who in some warped way, believed that they are doing something positive. It is hard to believe that they have been incited by their rabbis. If there are such rabbis, we need to distance ourselves from them. Again, all of this is theoretical as no one has been convicted of the crime.
What is highly troubling is that the Left is magnifying the problem into something greater than it is. Responsible and respectable religious leaders have come out and condemned such an act as wrong. There seems to be a connection with the biblical concubine story in the way that we are responding to the incident. Such actions do not reflect the Religious Zionist viewpoint nor does it reflect the teachings of the late Rav Meir Kahane, zt’l.

The Left, as usual, acts as though it has the monopoly on morality. They are too quick to judge and use this as a springboard to vent their animosity towards the settlers and the religious. This is directly related to showing undo compassion for the real enemies of the Jewish people. They show cruelty to the good moral Jews.

When all is said and done, an incident such as Duma helps us to make a reality check. Our beloved State of Israel is still a relatively young country. Its moral character and its overall makeup is a matter of constant debate. Some want a Jewish state and others want it to be like the other nations. Whatever the case may be, may we never again witness such an act of lawlessness that brings shame to all of the Jewish people.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for more than twenty years. He has been teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach, Old Katamon, Jerusalem, for the nearly seventeen years. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles.