Among our most sacred values is shalom, the Hebrew word for peace. But what does peace mean? Does it demand pacifism? Is it opposition to war at all costs? This issue arose in the 1930s in a dialogue between Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Buber. In an exchange of letters, Gandhi urged Jews in Germany to […]
Peace is a complex word. We usually think of it as the end of conflict. Yet, peace from one perspective can be subjugation or destruction from another.
In Hebrew we have, I believe, a more fitting word. It is Shalom. While Shalom is usually translated as “peace,” it means much more. Shalom describes a state of completion, integrity, wholeness.
By Faith Alone
Shalom is not simply a time when hatred is ignored, or we hold ourselves back for appearances’ sake. It is a time when individuals and groups reconcile with one another. It is a time when forgiveness and empathy and respect define our relationships.
Shalom has a spiritual dimension to it as well. It is not something politicians or armies can achieve alone. It is something for which individuals must strive. It is a dream for which our spiritual leaders must work.
It is something we may not witness in our lifetime, but it is a period which faith tells us will come to be.
God’s Home on Earth
Perhaps the closest we will get to that period is the vision described in the biblical book of Isaiah. “It shall come to pass,” Isaiah says, “in the end of days, that the Mountain of God’s House shall be exalted above the hills, and all the nations shall flow unto it.”
“And many people shall go and say: ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Eternal, to the House of the God of Jacob, that we may taught the way, and that we may walk in God’s path. For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the Word of the Eternal One from Jerusalem.” Amen
By Evan Moffic,
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