Redifut shalom, the pursuit of peace

today is this challenge that Psalm 34 lays out before us: seek peace, and pursue it. Redifut shalom, the pursuit of peace, is understood in the rabbinic tradition as a mitzvah, a holy obligation. And it is unique among mitzvot. Rabbi Hizkia taught:

Great is shalom, peace, because about all of the mitzvot in the Torah it is written, “If you happen upon,” “If it should occur,” “If you see,” which implies that if the opportunity to do the mitzvah comes upon you, then you must do it, and if not, you are not bound to do it. But in the case of peace, it is written, Seek peace, and pursue it—seek it in the place where you are, and pursue after it in another place. (Vayikra Rabbah 9:9)

What is the teaching here? That with all of our other ethical obligations, we must act correctly when the opportunity presents itself, when a particular situation arises. But in the case of peace, we have to be pro-active. We have an obligation to do the work of peace-making not only in the place where we happen to be, but also in other places, in places where voices of peace and conciliation have not yet reached.


Redifut shalom, the pursuit of peace, is not naïve—it’s just very difficult. “Who is the mightiest of the mighty?” the Talmud asks. “The one who makes his enemy into a friend.” (Avot d’Rabbi Natan 23)


About johnmhummasti

Was the victim of Human Rights Abuses (e.g. Hummasti v Bell, 98-3651-JTC) while a patient in the custody of the US Attorney General and hospitalized under 18 USC 4241 through 4244, et seq.! Interests: Biblical Studies, Talmudic Studies, Dead Sea (Yam Melek [Sea of Kings Soferim]) Scrolls, Scribal (Stam Sofer) Traditions, Cantorial (Hazzan) Psalms (Tehillim). Illustrated Calligraphy (e.g. Ketuvim [Jewish Marriage Contracts], Poetry). Self Published Manuscripts and Screen Plays at yhummastiscribd web site:
This entry was posted in Conflict Resolution, Mid East Policy, Peace Process, Rule of Law, Zionism. Bookmark the permalink.

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