Peace
jlm
Peace
VALUES
 
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Jewish tradition teaches that shalom – peace – is not only an important value, but it is a way of life. The word shalom comes from the Hebrew word shalem, meaning “whole” or “complete.” Peace begins with each person proactively and positively affecting their environment. We are urged to work for peace in the community and our world. Peace doesn’t simply happen, it is not passive. As Psalm 34:14 notes, we need to go after peace, chase it, and become pursuers of peace. Peace comes with work and action – work within ourselves to overcome personal conflict, and work between others to resolve conflict.

We also learn by further examination of other important values in our tradition, such as kavod (respect), ometz lev (courage), and hachnasat orchim (hospitality), we can better understand what it means to pursue peace.

"Great is peace, for of all the commandments it is written: “Seek peace, and pursue it'--seek it in your own place, and pursue it even to another place as well." (Leviticus Rabbah 9:9) Peace, then, is not passive; it is must be sought for at all times and is an active and continuous process. (Pirke Avot 1:12).

Questions for Reflection

  1. What does it mean to “seek peace?” How can you seek peace in your life? 
  2. How do you make peace within you? 
  3. What are the characteristics of someone who pursues peace? 
  4. How can you incorporate the value of shalom within your classroom?

Help the people in your world get along without fighting.

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