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Torah Thoughts - Naso (For Israel - Beha'alotecha)

Jews greet one another with the word “Shalom” which means peace. Yet, it is not just a word of greeting, it indicates a state of real consideration for one another, and ultimately enables the presence of God amongst us. Indeed “Shalom” is one of the names by which we describe God. And therefore the word “Shalom” should not be used without considering its full meaning, and we should all exert ourselves to achieve peace.


Our sages teach from the fact that the Birkat HaKohanim, the Priestly Blessing concludes with the word “Shalom”, that even if we have all the blessings in the world, without peace, those blessings are of no value.  Therefore, we must always strive to maintain peace, especially in our homes, our communities and whenever we interact with one another.  Shabbat is especially an appropriate time to have peace at home, which is called Shalom Bayit, and symbolised by the Shabbat candles.


Community peace can be maintained by showing respect for one another and by upholding the common traditions of the synagogue we attend rather than imposing one’s own personal preferences or agendas.


The late Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits pointed out that when we conclude the Amidah with the words “Ose Shalom” – May G-d make peace, we step back. This teaches us that in order to achieve peace we need to step back and have consideration for others.

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