The next two dappim of the Gemara will discuss various situations of self-injury and self-destruction. The Gemara references Shimshon’s ”Kamikaze” act upon the Philistines. At the end of his life, deprived of his miraculous strength, he was tied up and mocked in a public stadium. He prayed that God grant him one last strength, so that he “May die with the Philistines.” Thus, he was able to break apart the central pillars that he was tied to, causing the entire stadium to collapse, killing himself and the enemies of his people. It was, literally, a performance that “Brought the house down.”
While Shimshon’s actions were courageous and miraculously granted by God, the Gemara uses the phrase “Let me die with the Philistines” as an idiom for all kinds of self-destructive behavior that seems to be motivated to cause harm to others as well. Unfortunately, since situations of mass murder suicide seem to be prevalent, let us take some time to study the psychology, motivations and precursors to Suicide Homicides.
According to researchers Rouchy Emma et. al (Version of Record: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359178920301944 Manuscript_5d1545b0b4366aa03c46a8078e8ec986):
“Perpetrators of homicide-suicides were more likely to be male, older than homicide or suicide perpetrators. Studies also reveal an early history of adversity during childhood, legal issues in the past, as well as the exposure to stressful and/or traumatic events shortly before the criminal act as risk factors. Most of HS (Homicide-Suicide) are perpetrated in an intra-familial setting and occur in the context of recent separation, divorce, and domestic conflicts. Finally, the present review shows the significant contribution of psychopathological factors (e.g., depressive disorder, psychotic delusional convictions) in the HS phenomenon.”
The authors of this study surveyed 47 articles on the topic in an effort to organize common themes and findings.
While this is an unpleasant morbid discussion, it is an important one. The ability for educators and loved ones to flag a potential offender and intervene before it is too late is critical in preventing tragedies. Knowing the risk factors and motivations are a helpful tool.
Translations Courtesy of Sefaria, (except when, sometimes, I disagree with the translation .)