Shoftim

Why is Peace so Important?

In Parshat Shoftim we are told, “When you draw near to a city to wage war against it, you shall call out to it for peace.”

Just how important is peace? Peace is the vessel for blessing. On this Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai states, “… He [G-d] is peace, His Name is peace and everything is bound in peace. The Sifra emphasizes: “Peace is the seal of all blessings because, without peace, prosperity, health, food and drink are WORTHLESS.” In addition, “The whole purpose of the Torah is peace.” Yet the verse in Proverbs goes to the extreme, “A slice of dry bread in a home with peace is better than a wealthy house filled with strife.”

The letter ‘shin’ ש stands for Shalom, which denotes peace and perfection. As the essence of all harmony and perfection, G-d is called the oseh shalom, The Maker of Peace. G-d’s descriptive Names don’t only imply descriptions of His Attributes but serve as examples for man to emulate. For a man to thrive spiritually, he must copy the attributes of his Maker. This is especially the case regarding peace since it is essential for man’s survival that he brings harmony to the diverse elements in this world. The three heads on the letter ‘shin’ ש symbolize two opponents standing on the extreme sides of the controversy and the Divine mediator in the middle.

The Sages teach that one of the three aims that Elijah the Prophet will achieve before Mashiach comes is that he will make peace in the world.

If Jews are worshipping idols, but they live in peace, then in Heaven, the Accuser is not able to indict them. One may deviate from the truth in order to preserve peace. If a person keeps to himself, he is not pursuing peace. Rather, he should go out and actively look for ways to make peace wherever he can. A person who brings peace into his house is considered by G-d as if he brought peace to the entire Jewish people. When our nation Israel is united and there is peace among them, the Satan has absolutely no control whatsoever over them.
 

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