Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Scholars and Peace

We've discussed before the puzzling talmudic statement (Berakhos 64a) that Torah scholars increase peace in the world (link). I was thinking of a possible interpretation loosely inspired by R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin's approach in his introduction to Peirushei Ivra.

R. Henkin points out that this statement uses the word "increase" regarding Torah scholars. However, based on Isaiah (45:7), in our prayers we refer to God as "making" peace.

Click here to read morePerhaps we can say that God "makes" peace because he is able to unify all people in the world, make an equality that is truly universal. World peace is something that experience tells us is unattainable by human effort.

Torah scholars cannot create unity. What they can do, however, is make a limited peace among their own followers, thereby increasing the amount of peace in the world. The intent of the talmudic statement is that Torah scholars make peace within their own communities or sub-communities, and not about their relationships with other communities.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More