Monday, November 26, 2012
Vayishlach, Bereishis 34:25. Seeking Advice
When Dina was abused by Shechem, her brothers decided to take revenge on her tormentor and his entire city. The decision to do this was their own; they did not consult their father Yaakov.
ויהי ביום השלישי בהיותם כאבים ויקחו שני בני יעקב שמעון ולוי אחי דינה איש חרבוRashi says,
שני בני יעקב: בניו היו, ואף על פי כן נהגו עצמן שמעון ולוי כשאר אנשים שאינם בניו, שלא נטלו עצה הימנו
So our parsha emphasizes the importance of seeking advice. Certainly when you have access to a great man, to a tzadik and talmid chacham who knows the ways of the world, you must take advantage of his wisdom. But sometimes, one should seek advice from less lofty individuals.
I was struck by this thought last week, when we were locked into a battle with the Arabs living in Gaza, who did everything they could to murder any Jew they could, a natural expression of their innate savagery. Our responses were severely constrained by our terrible fear of collateral damage to innocents. If only we had sought advice from local experts, people who have much more experience than we do. We should have engaged the wise counsel of Bashar al Assad, or Recep Erdoğan, both heads of states that have extensive experience in quelling insurrections, and who have managed to overcome any crippling hesitation in the pursuit of such vital matters of state. They would encourage us to follow the lead of Shimon and Levi.