Who’s to Blame?

My house was robbed in-between Purim and Pesach. Whose fault was it? Let’s examine the suspects:

While all of these are certainly contributing factors, none of us deserve the blame. You know who deserves the blame? The guy who robbed my house! (Note: We have since gotten a newer, better doorknob and we now always use the deadbolt.)

Why am I telling you this? Because of the recent kidnapping in Israel. While most people are focused on the real issue – freeing the three young men taken captive – some people are losing sight of the real issue or using the crime to promote personal agendas.

Who’s to blame? Let’s examine:

Come on, people! You know who’s to blame? The kidnappers!

Blaming the victim is the lowest form of ad hominem attack. We live in a society that is becoming aware of and addressing its own rape culture. People are gradually realizing that blaming a woman for what she was wearing or where she was walking is not acceptable. The Torah recognized this 3,500 years ago: “To the girl you shall do nothing; she has committed no capital crime. It’s like when one person rises against another to kill him” (Deuteronomy 22:26). We don’t blame the victim of a crime.

Is there an inherent risk in choosing to live in Israel? Of course. That doesn’t make Israel to blame. Can the bad guys find security holes and exploit them? Yes. Then we know to close those holes. We fix problems but that doesn’t make those lapses responsible for the actions of terrorists. “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers. Every person shall only be executed for his own crime” (Deuteronomy 24:16). (Yes, we learn from this verse that fathers and sons may not testify against one another but the verse is also understood in its plain sense.)

Then there are crazy causes, like the idea that the hashtag #bringbackourboys is somehow insensitive to the Nigerian families whose daughters were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April. Seriously? Even if a Nigerian family happened to follow the Israeli kidnappings on Twitter, do you really think they have the time or inclination to get righteously indignant over hashtag infringement? “What? #bringbackourgirls is our thing! How dare those Jews appropriate our hashtag?” I think the families of those poor girls have bigger problems in life to address and are not interested in Twitter wars. Maybe we should follow their example and focus on the problem at hand.

There’s only one bad guy in the story: the terrorists, however many they may be. Let’s put our energies in the right direction and focus on our boys’ safe return. Let us pray, learn, raise awareness, petition, etc. – anything that we feel may help achieve that goal. Let’s not get sidetracked by personal causes that do nothing to help and in many cases actually distract from useful efforts.