Please Learn in the Merit of:

Please learn for the merit of a complete recovery for the following individuals:

Ya'akov Don ben Esther Ahuvah Sharona
Avraham Yishayahu ben Aviva
Perel Leah bas Sima

Please learn in the merit/memory of Eyal ben Uriel, Gil-Ad Michael ben Ophir, Ya'akov Naftali ben Avraham, and Alter Aryeh Leib Reuven ben Sima

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י"ח חשון - Cheshvan 18 - Forty-Eighth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Please keep in mind Avraham ben Yitzchak Adatto, z"l, while learning.

In order to explain some of the virtues of peace, I will copy a little from the [teachings] of our Sages of Blessed Memory on this [matter]. [The following] is taken from the book “Ma’alas HaMiddos[1]: “Know, my sons, that the virtue of peace is the loftiest of virtues, for it is one of the names of The Holy One, Blessed is He, as it says, (Shoftim: 6; 24) “and he called it ‘HaShem Shalom[2]”. In every place that peace is found, fear of Heaven is [similarly] found, and in every place where peace is not found, fear of Heaven is [similarly] not found. [So] great is the [virtue of] peace before [HaShem’s] Presence, for such did our Sages of Blessed Memory say in the Aggadah (Yevamos, 65b): “[So] great is the [virtue of] peace that even the Written Torah contains words of falsehood [in order] to impose peace between Avraham and Sarah. For [Sarah] said, “…and my master is elderly.” (Bereishis: 18; 12), and HaShem said to Avraham [while reporting what Sarah said about Avraham], “…and I am elderly”, [making it seem as if Sarah referred to herself as “elderly”] (Bereishis: 18; 13). Similarly, [Yosef’s brothers fabricated the following command that Ya’akov gave to Yosef]: “And they commanded Yosef, saying, ‘Your father commanded before his death, saying’.”[3] (Bereishis: 50; 16) [However], we do not find that [Ya’akov] commanded [Yosef] any of these things at all, for [Ya’akov] did not suspect [Yosef of wanting to wrong his brothers]. [So] great is the power of peace that even at a time of war we seek out peace, as it says, “When you approach a city to wage war against it, and you shall call out to it, [offering it] peace.” (Devarim: 20; 10) [So] great is the [attribute of] peace, for we conclude Birchas Kohanim[4] with it, as it says, “…and He shall place down peace for you.” (Bamidbar: 6; 26) [So] great is the [virtue of] peace that we conclude the [morning] prayer [service] with [a mention of] peace, as it says, “HaShem will give strength to His nation, HaShem will bless His nation with peace.” (Tehillim: 29; 11) Furthermore, on the day of the consolation of the Jewish People, we first bring news of peace, as it says, “How pleasant on the hills are the feet of the heralder who brings news of peace.” (Yishayahu: 52; 7) My sons, come and see how great is the power of peace, for even to those whom He hates, The Holy One, Blessed is He, opens to them [by offering] peace, as it says, “When you shall approach a city [to wage war against it, and you shall call out to it, [offering it] peace]”. (Devarim: 20; 10) It was said about Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, that no one ever preceded him [with greetings of] peace, [before he wished them peace. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai would] even [make sure to initiate greetings of peace to] gentile[s] in the marketplace.[5] (Berachos, 17a) Our Sages of Blessed Memory have [also] said [in Pirkei Avos] (Chapter 4, Mishna 15): “You shall precede all people by first greeting [them] with wishes of peace.” What [does it mean by saying that one should greet] all people with wishes of peace? Even if you see someone who has something against you, you shall take the initiative by greeting him with wishes for peace, for if you do this, you will cause him to love you. Not only that, but even if he will not yield to make peace with you, The Holy One, Blessed is He, will hand him over to you and cause him to capitulate under you, as it says, “And if they will not make peace with you… and HaShem, your G-d, will place them in your hand…” (Devarim: 20; 12) Similarly, we find by David, Alav HaShalom, that he was pursuing peace with Shaul, as it says, “I am peace, and when I speak, they are for war.” (Tehillim: 120; 7) [For] Shaul, it was not enough that he was not appeased [by David], rather, he pursued [David] in order to harm him, and The Holy One, Blessed is He, handed over [Shaul] into the hand of David in the cave and in the circular encampment[6]. Nevertheless, [these instances in which Shaul fell into David’s hand] did not arise [to provide] David [the opportunity] to cause harm to [befall Shaul. The above is the case], for a person must love peace and pursue peace, as it says, “Seek peace and pursue it”. (Tehillim: 34; 15) Seek [peace] out in your place and pursue it with your enemy, seek it in your place and pursue it in other places, seek it with your body and pursue it with your money[7], seek it for yourself and pursue it for others, seek it today and pursue it tomorrow. Do not give up [in your attempts to pursue peace], by saying, “I am unable to make peace.” Rather, pursue after peace until you attain it. What is [considered] pursuing peace? Such did our Sages of Blessed Memory say [when describing what one must do to be considered as having pursued peace]: This [refers to] one who speaks [words of peace] at the time of an argument, and one who abrogates his honor for the sake of the public, similar to the manner in which Moshe Rabbeinu, Alav HaShalom, made [peace], as it says, “And Moshe arose and went to Dathan and Aviram…”[8] (Bamidbar: 16; 25) (Sanhedrin, 110a) [In addition], one who cancels his business dealings [in order to go] and impose peace between a husband and his wife, between a man and his fellow, [or] between a rabbi and his student [is considered as having pursued peace. Pursuing peace also applies to one who] prepares a feast for both of [the disputants] in order to instill peace between them.

[1] This teaching is found in Ma’alas HaShalom, pg. 319, in the Eshkol printing.

[2] After seeing an angel, Gidon was afraid for his life, whereupon, HaShem told him that he would not die. Therefore, Gidon erected an altar. RaSh”I explains that Gidon called the altar “HaShem is our Shalom” – “HaShem is our Peace”. The Minchas Shai quotes the gemara from the first perek of maseches Shabbos where Rav Hamnuna quotes Ulla as saying that it is forbidden for one to say “shalom” to another in the bathhouse, for that is one of HaShem’s Names.

[3] Yosef’s brothers fabricated Ya’akov’s command to Yosef as they feared that Yosef would recompense them for the wrongdoing they had inflicted on Yosef when they sold him as a slave. The Torah states as follows, “And Yosef’s brothers saw that their father had died and they said, ‘Perhaps Yosef will have enmity toward us and shall surely recompense us for all of the evil with which we inflicted [upon] him’. And they commanded Yosef, saying, ‘Your father commanded before his death, saying. ‘So shall you say to Yosef, please forgive the willful and negligent sins of your brothers, for they have inflicted evil upon you, and now forgive the willful sin of the servants of the G-d of your father…’” (Bereishis: 50; 15 – 17)

[4] Birchas Kohanim refers to the "Blessings of the Priests" given daily in Israel (when there is
a kohen present) and, outside of Israel, during Jewish holidays (Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Pesach, Shavuos, Succos, Shemini Atzeres, and Simchas Torah). The text of Birchas Kohanim is found in the Torah (Bamidbar: 6; 24 - 26).

[5] The entire passage in the gemara reads as follows: “A pearl in the mouth of Abayee: ‘A person should always be cunning to acquire fear of HaShem, [for] “A soft answer turns back anger”. (Mishlei: 15; 1) A person should also increase [the level of] peace with one’s brothers, his relatives, and with all people, even with a gentile in the marketplace in order that he be loved Above, [in Heaven] and desired below, [in this world] and he will be popular among people. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai would] even [make sure to initiate greetings of peace to] gentile[s] in the marketplace.” (Berachos, 17a)

[6] The first incident in which David had the opportunity to kill Shaul was when Shaul and his men were pursuing David to attack him. David and his men were hiding in a cave. Shaul, whereupon having to relieve himself in a cave, entered the same cave in which David and his men were hidden. David’s men recommended that David do what he wishes to Shaul. However, instead of killing Shaul, David cut off a piece of his garment. (Shmuel I: 24; 3 – 7) The next incident [when David could have attacked Shaul] was when David and Avishai entered Shaul’s camp while Shaul and his men were under a Heavenly imposed deep-sleep. Though David had an opportunity to kill Shaul a second time, he refused “to touch the anointed one of HaShem” and instead took Shaul’s spear. (Shmuel I: 26; 7 – 12) Thus, in both instances, though Shaul pursued David, intent on harming him,
when the opportunities arose, David refused to kill or cause harm Shaul, as he felt that it was improper to attack Shaul.

[7] Chofetz Chaim’s note: The explanation of [pursuing peace with your money] is [as follows]: At times, a person needs to be forgiving in reference to his money, in order to strengthen the stronghold of peace.

[8] Reish Lakish says that we learn that one should not hold onto a dispute from the fact that Moshe arose to go to Dathan and Aviram. Dathan and Aviram were two major players in the rebellion of Korach against Moshe’s leadership of the Jewish People. (Sanhedrin, 110a) RaSh”I states on the pasuk that Moshe went to Dathan and Aviram, for perhaps they would show him favor. (Bamidbar: 16; 25)

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