This week’s parasha focuses on one main topic and a very sad one at that. That is the topic of the very bitter argument between Moshe and Aharon on the one side and Korach and his assembly on the other hand. The first question that pops into our mind is how could they?? Didn’t they know how great Moshe and Aharon were? Who did they think they were? Such great people… G-d Himself says how great they were… We could go on and on about how absurd it seems to have been involved in, let alone initiate, such a devastating quarrel. But the very sorry truth is that that is probably the eternal lesson here. Every quarrel is absurd. Every fight could have been avoided. Every argument is unnecessary. So is every disagreement . All bickering is de mas. There is always a better way, a more understanding, more compassionate way. There is always room for a woman’s touch.
i thought to devote this weeks essay to Shalom. How it is the most significant, important, consequential trait we need to develop. Being right is important, no one should ever do anything they did not believe in, nor should one ever act out of lack of conviction and no one usually does. And that is the problem. Being right is important but it is not everything, not at all cost. Happiness, peace of mind, and serenity, ours and that of our loved ones,are all too steep a price. Given the perspective of an hour, a day, a week, we are not always so sure what it was we made such a fuss about. Peace is the ultimate panacea, heals all hurts, smooths all roads, pleases the hearts, shortens the miles. It is the ultimate gift of love.
But you all know all of that and so what could i say that would be original? It is a hard task because it seems that no matter how old humanity is, how aging are our civilizations, we just never learn. How many hearts and humans and countries have been sacrificed on the altar of justice. Unfortunately, all too many. Peace just sits there, neglected and shamed in the corner because so few have ever tried to take its side. How sad…
There is also the small matter of blasphemy in our anger and senseless pursuit of being right ( and our negation of peace). In the world we live in, people tend to ignore the message and kill the messenger because it annoys us to be confronted with things we would rather ignore. But Judaism actually teaches that the messenger is of very little consequence and the message is all important. G-d communicates with us all the time, but He does it indirectly, through people, through unpleasant incidents, unkind or unthoughtful remarks, through people’s criticism. The messenger can be varied and diverse but it is the message we must focus on. We need to be task oriented and not self oriented. Maybe, just maybe the other person is right. To not believe that would be to not believe that Hashem sent him and there is a message for us somewhere in there.
The gemara writes that one who sees a kettle, a river or a bird in a dream can expect to find Shalom. How does that work, you may ask? Well, we can safely say that the 3 factors that impede one’s progress in this world are jealousy, lust (immorality) and haughtiness. All 3 deive wedges between people and destroy harmony, cooperation and coexistence. The kettle, the river and the bird and all they represent are the antidote to all that ugliness that is so common to mankind. The kettle unites the power of fire and water to cook food for our sustenance. Yet the pot itself gets nothing and is singed and bruised and blackened in the process. The immoral, lustful one, though acts only on the basis of his own gratification. His only consideration is “what’s in it for me.” The pot is the antithesis of this attitude. The river is the antidote for jealousy. A river is so beautiful and useful provided it stays within its boundaries. If it would G-d forbid, overflow those boundaries, it becomes terribly destructive. Shalom requires one to recognize his unique place in the world and consequently the unique role of his fellow man. Each gets what they need and no one takes anything that belongs to another. To combat haughtiness, we can learn from the bird. It is flexible, light and always ready to make way for others and fly away…
One last word about Shalom, even though enough could never be said about it, Shalom is not only the absence of strife and disagreement. It is an active purposeful consistent pursuit of serenity. And it is actually achieved by the unification of opposites. Take a minute to think about that. If any one can tackle this task, it is us woman,
With great faith and blessings and until the next time, Shalom, DL