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Nasso- We need peace!

 

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord shine his face upon you and favor you.
May the Lord lift up his face toward you and grant you Shalom!
(Numbers 6:24-26)

 

One of the most well-known Torah passages, the priestly benediction, appears in this week’s Parshah, Naso, (Num. 6:24-26). God is asked to bless Israel, to deal kindly with Israel, to bestow favor upon Israel and to grant Israel peace. This last, the desire for peace, permeates our texts and our liturgy.

There is a subtle hint to the importance of peace in our Parsha when we read of the trial of the Sotah(a women suspected by her husband of being unfaithful) who as part of her trial drank waters in which the name of G-d was dissolved:

Rabbi Yishmael taught: Great is peace, for the Great Name is written in holiness, [but] the Holy One blessed be He said: “Let [My Name] be erased into the water in order to create peace between husband and wife.”(Vayikra Rabbah 9:9)

 

This statement of Rabbi Yishmael is used as a basis of the following halacha:

[If one only has enough money to buy one of them and] the lamp of his home and the lamp of Hanukah are set before him, or the lamp of his home and the [wine for the] Kiddush of the day [are set before him], the lamp of his home takes precedence because of [the importance of] domestic peace, since God’s own Name is erased in order to make peace between man and wife. Great is peace, for all of the Torah was given in order to make peace in the world, for it is said its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all of its paths, peace.

(RaMBaM Hilkhot Megillah ve’Hanukah 4:14)

 

 

 The Amidah prayer concludes with “Sim Shalom,” a prayer for peace. The Birkat Hamzon, the blessings after a meal, concludes with a request for peace. On Shabbat we sing “Shalom Aleichem,” welcoming the ‘Malachai haShalom,” the Angels of Peace. The full Kaddish (mourners prayer) concludes with “Oseh Shalom,” a longing for God to grant peace. The Mishnah, the compendium of Oral laws, concludes with a quotation from Psalms 29:11 that “the Lord will bless his people with peace.” It is fair to conclude that the desire for peace is one of the strongest themes of Judaism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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