Incest: Why Molestation in the Home is a Big Deal
The Rambam in Mishna Ketubot Chapter 3:2 writes: "He who sleeps with his daughter, sleeps with his daughters' daughter, sleeps with his sons' daughter, with the daughter of his wife, or the daughter of her (his wife's) son, or the daughter of her (his wife's) daughter, doesn't have to pay, because he deserves death (mitchayev bnafsho). His death is at the hands of the Court, and whoever deserves death doesn't pay money as it says "..."
Today, thousands of Jewish children are molested by their fathers, school teachers, camp counselors. This is not acceptable. But the worst is when it happens in the home. A father is supposed to support and protect his children. When a father molests or rapes his children, it can result is irreversible spiritual damage to the child. For this reason, Jewish youth are suffering from drug addiction, suicide, homosexuality, and depression. Incest is way too common and it has to be stopped. In my opinion a father who molests his own children is also over on the prohibition against being a Mesit (because he can cause his children to go off the derech).
The Torah has given us guidelines. Its time we start taking them seriously. If a husband is sexually abusive towards his wife its likely he will be sexually abusive to his daughters. A sicko is a sicko period. The Gemara clearly states that in the case of divorce, daughters must stay with their mothers. The father is not entitled to visitation or shared custody. Unfortunately, The Rabbinical courts in Israel pay no heed to Halacha and consistently rule that fathers are entitled to unsupervised visitation and shared custody. This is in direct opposition to Halacha. And it can result in daughters being raped or physically abused by their fathers.
Authors Note: A father who sleeps with his daughter deserves the death penalty. The death penalty can only be applied if there are witnesses and warning. In the times of the Talmud it was rare for the Jewish courts to put people to death (because according to Jewish Law there had to be witnesses and warning), so they used to incarcerate people who they deemed to be a public threat. If they knew that someone had committed a terrible crime, but they couldn't find witnesses sometimes the courts would feed the accused wood shavings until they died. Today, obviously Jewish courts cannot rule about criminal cases requiring the death penalty, but nonetheless we must take a lesson from the Torah about the severity of incest, abuse, and molestation. Incest is not a joking matter. Children's lives are at stake.