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Shabbat Parashat Tazria Metzora 5773

Ein Ayah: Peace The Bridge Between the Religious and the Humanistic

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:271)

Gemara: They instituted that one should greet his friend with Hashem’s Name, as the pasuk says: “Boaz was coming from Beit Lechem, and he said to the reapers: ‘May Hashem be with you,’ and they answered him: ‘May Hashem bless you’” (Ruth 2:4).


Ein Ayah: True knowledge of Hashem is to actually walk in His paths. “Your father did indeed eat, drink, and perform acts of justice and kindness … this is knowing Me” (Yirmiya 22:15-16).

The highest value, which encompasses straightness and proper behavior, is peace: peace between man and his counterpart, peace between families, and peace between nations. In order to arrive at peace in a true and secure manner, we need important preparations and deep study of the way of Hashem and the service of Hashem.

Looking at the matter externally, one might think that it is possible for an approach of peace to exist in the world without knowledge of Hashem. If that were true, the goal of knowledge and service of Hashem would be limited to the realm of one’s spiritual elevation, intended to bring him to a desirable level for eternity. More specifically, ethics would be broken up into two separate sections: 1) matters pertaining to peace and good characteristics in the development of the physical world; 2) matters of Torah and service of Hashem.

In truth, though, these are not two separate realms. The goal of service of Hashem is that through it and a pure view of Hashem, all of humanity will reach the loftiest state of peace. This is clear from the following pasuk that deals with the Days to Come: “They will not do evil and not destroy on all of my Holy Mountain, for the land will be full with knowledge of Hashem like the water that covers the ocean floor” (Yeshaya 11:9). This knowledge of Hashem impacts on the quality of the peace and the quality of the service of Hashem and all the laws that go along with it. We need to know that without Torah values, mankind cannot attain the essence of peace. Only through spirituality will we appreciate the true value of the peace that we are asking for. When we realize that knowledge of Hashem is such that is supposed to lead to peace, we will understand better what this knowledge is.

The matter starts with the question of how to improve the welfare of society. One of the most damaging things to society is improper treatment of workers. If workers are not treated properly, they may think, through a lack of intellectual understanding, that they will raise their standing in society only by casting off the responsibilities of Torah and the yoke of Heaven. The truth is the opposite, as only when people accept the responsibilities that the Torah places on employers is there protection for the weak from the abuses of the powerful. If employers have full fear of Hashem, they will internalize their responsibilities to justice and treat their workers with love. The workers will then respond with affection toward their employers, and this will prevent wrongdoing by either side.

In the case of Boaz, we have a clear example of the impact of blessing a fellow person with Hashem’s Name. Boaz, a leader in Israel, did not disregard his simple workers as one might expect due to their disparate stations in society, by berating them for their lack of diligence. Rather, he invoked Hashem’s Name in wishing their well-being, as Hashem’s mandates caused him to have this respect. The workers were on such good terms with Boaz that they blessed him with Hashem’s Name, realizing that the more successful Boaz would be, the better for them, as well.

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