BETRAYING THEIR SACRED TRUST ¾ Section 2
The subject of rabbinic, cantorial, or chaplaincy sexual boundary violations is unseemly and unsettling. An essay titled "When Melodies, Torah Scholars, and Abuse Collide," raises uncomfortable questions.
For too long the Jewish community has turned its back on this problem. Therefore, it is guilty of failing to uphold the commandments found in Leviticus 19, warning us about cursing the deaf and placing a stumbling block before the blind.
Regrettably, there are examples in sacred Jewish writings where the Jewish community has turned a blind eye to the abuse of sexual boundaries. No less a personage than King David - from whom Jewish tradition say the Messianic line will come - abuses his power as ruler and takes Bathsheba into his bed. He arranges that Bathsheba's husband Uriah, will meet his death in battle. Chastised by the prophet Nathan, David claims he regrets his actions, but it is the child of that illicit union, that bears the burden. David's reputation is virtually unsullied (2 Samuel 12).
In the next generation, David's son Amnon lusts after his half-sister Tamar, and ends up raping her. When David learns about it, he does nothing to punish his son. Finally, Tamar's brother Absalom takes matters into his own hands and kills Amnon (2 Samuel 13.)
In the Apocrypha, in the story of Susanna, the Jewish community is willing believe the words of the two Jewish elders, and would have put innocent Susanna to death, had she not been saved by the intervention of Daniel. In that instance, the Jewish community does exact retribution from these predators.
© 2004 David J. Zucker
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