Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Pinchas

Fragile Peace

The parsha of Pinchas contains one of the anomalies in the script writing of the Torah. God promises Pinchas the blessing that “My covenant of shalom – peace” be with him and his descendants. The Hebrew word shalom as written here in the Torah has a vav ktia – the Hebrew letter vav written in the word shalom is split and incomplete. Usually a split or incompletely written letter in the Torah renders the Torah itself as unusable and needing repair. But here it is the tradition of the Torah itself that the letter vav itself remain split and incomplete without this affecting the usability and validity of the Torah scroll itself. I have mentioned this matter in previous essays of mine on the parsha of Pinchas but I now wish to concentrate on an insight that recently came to mind regarding this split vav. We all know that there are endless faces and depth to the words of the Torah and that therefore many insights are always contained within one word or even one letter of the Torah. Thus all insights into Torah, based on the framework of the Oral Law and the great commentators of Israel throughout the ages are valid and instructive. The idea that I wish to advance regarding the split vav is very simple but I feel it to be the essence of truth. Namely, that peace is very fragile, almost always difficult to maintain and it requires great effort to keep it together. All of human history bears out this fact. True peace, whether in the home, the family, amongst neighbors, in the synagogue, in the community and certainly between nations, is very hard to achieve and even more difficult to maintain.

The Torah wishes us to be aware of the difficulty in achieving and maintaining peace. Peace is not achieved with glib phrases, populist slogans or even just good wishes and sincere intents. It requires great sacrifices, sensitivity to others, patience and vision as to the future and the possible consequences of current behavior, speech and decisions. And even if peace is achieved it is always a vav ktia – a fragile, split, easily ruptured state of being. Pinchas’ act of zealotry hardly seems to be the proper prelude for the Lord granting him the blessing of peace. But the vav ktia teaches us that God warns Pinchas that this act of zealotry is not to be a permanent policy of Jewish behavior. The self-same sense of risk and sacrifice that Pinchas invested in his act of zealotry now has to be channeled into the achievement of peace and its continued maintenance. One has to realize how the peace in a family and a community is always threatened by the petty things of life that taken too seriously rip us apart and leave us without peace or serenity of soul and personality. Pinchas will become the kohein gadol – High Priest – of Israel. His task will be to emulate his grandfather, Aharon, to love peace and pursue peace. He will be unable to do so successfully if he does not first realize the difficulty and fragility of achieving and maintaining peace. Only then will there be a reasoned and successful pursuit of peace become possible.

Shabat shalom.
Rabbi Berel Wein


Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com

Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Where Have You Been?
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

In Our Best Interest
Rabbi Elly Broch - 5764

Stay Cool
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Number Forty-Two
Shlomo Katz - 5767

The Geography of the Exodus
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Final Destination
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

ArtScroll

The Nine Days of Mourning
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Where Firstborn Rush In. . .
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Rebuilding the Temple with Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Points to Ponder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

The Age Of Experience
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

> His Private Path
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Personal Judge
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information