Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rashi indicates one's children are punished for not fighting molesters

This weeks' parsha has a wakeup call to all those who are ignoring the problem of child and wife abuse and don't think it warrants their attention.

The Torah in this weeks parsha Shemos (22:21-23) states:

You should not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict them, and they cry to Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My anger will burn hot and I will kill you with the sword and your wives will become widows and your children orphans.

Rashi states that this punishment of wife and children applies to all cases where a helpless victim is ignored. It is important to note this is not addressing the punishment of the tormentor but those upstanding citizens who ignore the cries of the helpless and do nothing.

No widow and orphan should be afflicted – In fact no one else should be afflicted either but the Torah is describing the typical case. Since they are weak and helpless, it is common that they are afflicted. And your wives will become widows -  Since this is clearly understood from the fact that the verse says, “I will kill you” so why is it necessary to say that “your wives will become widows and your sons orphans?”  This indicates an additional curse that they will  be prohibited to remarry because there will not be witnesses to the death of their husband. The lesson we learn by the Torah saying “your sons will be orphans” is that the beis din will not allow them to benefit from the inheritance of their father since it will be unknown whether he in fact died or has been captured.

The Malbim says that Rashi is following the view of Rabbi Yishmael that the verse is referring to all those who have no protector - which obviously includes victims of molesters who are defenseless and are ignored. However Rabbi Akiva says this harsh punishment is reserved specifcally for those who ignore the suffering of widows and orphans.


  1. Nothing in the posted commentaries indicated "one's children are molested as punishment". They become orphans, is what it says.

  2. you are of course correct

    I changed the title
    I was simple apply principle of mida kneged mida
    however the torah is saying your children will suffer the condition ignored

  3. Also important, especially in religious cases of child abuse is the clause
    "כִּי אִם-צָעֹק יִצְעַק אֵלַי",
    because the abuser commonly hijacks the victim's conceptions of צדק/רשע, or even hijacks the conception of עבודה itself. Such victims need help from manifest religious authorities to "sort out" their conceptions.

  4. I dont think've I seen a more dishonest heading for a blog post -on a blog purportedly run by a frum man, that is - than this one. Rashi's comment has nothing to do with molestors. As a man with a hammer sees a nail everywhere, your unhealthy obsession with molesters leads you to see references to them everywhere.


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