Sedra VaYishlach, 120 words – Innocent Bystanders
The balance between ensuring one’s safety and beating down the enemy is the argument between YaAkov and his sons Shimon and Levi.
The ‘proposal’ for marriage [33:8] was an ultimatum, Dina was not returned to her family. She was kept hostage. This is an unambiguous threat.
YaAkov does not rebuke his sons who plundered but he suspects he’ll be attacked and exterminated because EVERY male was killed.
Did they need to kill everyone?
Their response? Had we not avenged the violation of our sister, had we permitted ourselves to be trampled upon, then everybody and anybody would have taken from us whatever they pleased.
In the proverbial showdown, the newcomer is publicly humiliated, “You’re a nobody, a nothing. What are you going to do about it?”
And unless something is done about it, you’re toast.
The members of the clan probably had no choice. They were not guilty, just a necessary tragedy.