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About World Peace

Friday, 28 January, 2022 - 10:15 am

Every now and then the world enters a disturbing phase of fearing a new war will break out somewhere, dragging other nations into an unwanted conflict. Ukraine has been dominating the news lately and the U.S. and Russia - former Cold War rivals - are facing another showdown.

As a private citizen I have no suggestions for the world leaders, diplomats and military strategists charged with handling this crisis. But as a Jew I’m obligated to absorb this information and grow in my personal life. After all, the Baal Shem Tov taught that one must learn a lesson from everything one sees or hears.

January 31 marks 30 years since 13 heads of state and foreign ministers - including US President George H. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin - met for the first summit-level meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The Friday meeting reaffirmed the central role of the Security Council in maintaining world peace and upholding the principle of collective security as envisioned in the United Nations Charter.

The next day, during the Shabbat gathering held in Chabad World Headquarters the Rebbe spoke extensively about this historic meeting.

“Here, before our very eyes, the major powers are proclaiming their desire to establish a new and humanitarian world order of justice and peace,” the Rebbe said. “This is a tangible foretaste of the idyll envisioned by the prophet Isaiah: They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.”

The Rebbe also made note of the fact that this prophecy is engraved on the wall facing United Nations Headquarters in New York City, the location of this historic meeting.

In this week’s parshah G-d communicates many laws regarding interpersonal relationships. Issues ranging from simple civil disputes about property damages and careless custodians all the way through kidnapping, murder and rape. It’s a jarring change of pace from the peaceful events of the revelation at Sinai described in last week’s parshah and the construction of the Tabernacle described in next week’s parshah. But Judaism is all about facing the realities of our world and introducing divinity into all the details of life, even the nasty ones. By working through all these challenges in a Torah mandated fashion we can bring the entire world to a state of peace and tranquility.

As evidenced by current events we are certainly not there yet, but humanity today craves peace over war, and we must get to a point where war will no longer be an option.

Maimonides declared over 850 years ago that one single good deed, spoken word and even thought can usher in the Messianic era of world peace. If this sounds naive to you, please consider that it only took a few gunshots fired by a 23 year old Serbian political activist in Bosnia to plunge the world into war. Just as light is more powerful than darkness, goodness is more potent than evil.

My takeaway from this week’s global drama is the vital importance to increase in acts of goodness and kindness so that we imminently usher in an era of true global peace through Moshiach and we will never need to deal with such problems again.


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