Sedra VaYishLach, 120 Words. Punish the Group
On the third day following their circumcision, when at their weakest, Shimon and Levi, the brothers of Dina, each took their sword and killed every male in the clan. [34:26]
The [other] sons of Jacob (a) came then upon the slain and (b) plundered the village that had defiled their sister. [34:27]
Only the plundering [verse 27] is described as for having “defiled their sister”, not the killing [verse 26]
YaAkov criticises only Shimon and Levi. 34:30 He accepts that the entire group is responsible and need a smackdown. It is not a question of doing Gd’s work but of keeping oneself safe.
Had they killed only those engaged in the violation of Dina [and plundered the entire village] YaAkov may not have protested. The other clans in the area would have expected as much. Justice would have been achieved. There would have been no threat to YaAkov’s embryonic clan.
Killing them all however, was a breach of the common etiquette and sure to outrage all the clans in the area and leave them vulnerable against a united attack.
Shimon and Levi have the final word though, if our sister’s honour is not defended [34:31] then we are sitting ducks. We will be seen as weak and preyed upon by every hooligan.
It all depends upon successful communication. That requires that the right things are said and that the other side hears what is being said.
Sometimes that requires drastic action against the entire group.