Man has waited long to see the prophetic visions of peace actualized. Never did humanity say there was no need for global peace. Never a time did humanity say there was no need for conventional brotherhood. Never a time did humanity say there was no need for peace of the mind and existential meaning. Today commemorates the day Martin Luther King marched in Washington in the name of peace. Is King’s message compatible with the Torah and Halachik thinking?
The faiths and hopes of the Torah do not remain valid only for the unobtrusive personality and the silent un-interrogating Torah mind. For which religion opposes the law of love and peace and is not considered a cult? Which sect holds the sacred gift of unity, vanity? Humanity in its constant quest of serenity seeks only the sighs and expressions of the prophet, seeks only G-d’s vision of this becoming universe. Man, following an ethos of truth and peace, leads not to a cold room of historical artifacts and achievements, but to the warm atmosphere of a G-dly world.
Man is totally cleansed on the day of Yom Kippur. However, the purity of G-d’s presence cleanses all but the human stain of baseless hatred, the stain of war, the stain of anti-Semitism, the stain of the racist mind (Yad Hachazakah, Laws of Repentance, 2:92).
A correction is to be made concerning the notion of peace. Peace does not mean the absence of war, or the refrain of anti-Semitic comment. The true fundamental factor of peace resides in a time where there is no enemy. A quiet moment or a silent world should not let us conclude that we have stumbled upon the premises of peace.
Just as defining G-d in abstentions, meaning to say what He is not, He is still undefined, being that we don’t know what He is, peace is also undefined when the silent method is being sanctioned as the ultimate peace. Each man lying safely under his fig tree is not enough, The pursuit of peace must proceed in our lives till “the wolf shall lie with the lamb. ” It is the virtues of our high priests which exemplified this conduct. Today we are told, “Be of the sons of Aaron, loving peace, pursuing peace, loving humanity and drawing them to Torah (Avoth 1:12).” The love of peace will not suffice; it is the pursuit of peace that will open for us the portals of a new dimension.
When one is in a dark room, even when he stands in the face of a mirror, he will not see himself. Even when humanity screams out brotherhood, it may still be drowned out by tides of distorted thought. Our own lineage is often forgotten. The Talmud explains that “Man was created alone… for peace amongst humanity, so that one should not say ‘My father is greater then yours’…to recount the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He…Who created all men in the form of Adam, yet none are the same (Sanhedrin, 37a). ” We do not know the full family tree of man, but we are surely from one father. In repairing the broken vessels of humanity we realize that being a part of humanity is not a momentary matter, a event in the passing; it is eternally within. It is not a matter of one’s surroundings, but a matter of his substance and essence; not an accumulated idea from the walks of life, but a innate awareness instilled in humanity.
Those who see past the odyssey of the self, feel this. Those who can recognize the value of life even though occupied with the daily vicissitudes of life, understand that it is only an identity crisis when man forsakes man. We in this world are as two people left in a desert, or as in a corridor with no exit signs. We constantly look for tranquility elsewhere, we constantly look for a key when there is no door. We are constantly paraphrasing our predicament (King, 1966).
There is nothing new under the sun. Today’s world with all its modern features came about not by changing the world, but by utilizing it for all its dormant abilities, but who knows of the power that is dormant within Man? Who knows what he can do united? All the prophets had prophesied only till the days of the Messiah, but concerning the World to Come, it is written: “No eye has seen it besides you (Isaiah 64:3).” Man’s power united is of a unknown entity since the beginning of time.
In sensitizing ourselves to the spirituality of King’s prophetic message one can truly come to the realization that he didn’t march for Black people, he marched for mankind echoing the Prophets of Israel. Should the Jew keep the words of our prophets alive, they will keep on marching in the name of peace.