A common vision of Peace

Mankind has waited long to see the prophetic visions of peace actualized. We constantly envision the need for global peace, conventional brotherhood and existential meaning. Today commemorates the day Martin Luther King marched in Washington in the name of peace. As a Jew, it is easy to see how Dr. King’s message echoes the spirit of the Torah.

The faith and hopes of the those who marched with King are not only for the unobtrusive personality or the silent un-interrogating mind. For which people oppose 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 nothing more than the sighs and expressions of prophets and G-d’s vision of this becoming universe. The man who follows an ethos of truth and peace leads to something more than a room of historical artifacts and achievements. It leads to the atmosphere of a Godly world envision by the Prophets of Israel.

While it is true that Man is totally cleansed on the day of Atonement, 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, and the stain of a racist mind (Yad Hachazakah, Laws of Repentance, 2:92).

Now 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 only in a time where there is no enemy. A quiet moment or a silent world should not Allow the conclusion that we have stumbled upon the premises of peace.

We often try to describe G-d in abstentions, by expressing what he is not. Yet even after our descriptions, he is still undefined, as we don’t know what he is.  Peace is also undefined when the silent method is a disguise as true 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. The sages say “Be of the sons of Aaron, loving peace, pursuing peace, loving humanity and draw others to the 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 world.

When one is in a dark room, he will not see himself even in the face of a mirror. Even though humanity may cry out for 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 than yours’…and to recount the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He…Who created all men in the form of one man, 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 or an event in the passing; it is eternally within. It is not a matter of one’s surroundings, but a matter of substance and essence. It is not an accumulated idea from the walks of life, but an innate awareness instilled in humanity.

Those who see past the odyssey of the self, see clearly. Those who can recognize the value of life, while occupied with the daily vicissitudes of life, understand that it is only an identity crisis when man forsakes man. Dr. King said that we in this world are as two people left in a desert, or 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 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 until 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 an 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.

About the Author
Rabbi Gershom Francis. A Doctoral Student of Clinical Psychology and an influential Judaic Studies instructor for over a decade. Over the years Rabbi Francis has become known for his profound knowledge of Jewish Mysticism and Psychology.