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Created for Peace - Holy Land Moments with Rabbi Eckstein - May 27, 2018

  • 2018 May 27

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal
. — Isaiah 26:3-4

Shalom, peace, is a word so interconnected with the Jewish faith that it has become almost a symbol of Judaism. But what is the true meaning of peace, shalom? This is one of six devotions exploring the deeper meaning of what it means to bring peace into your home, your relationships, and yes, the world.

There are two beautiful verses in Isaiah that talk trusting God and God giving us shalom, peace. Yet, like so many verses in the Bible, when we look at the words in the original Hebrew, deeper nuances and meanings emerge.

First, let’s look at the verse in English: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” As is, the message clearly is that God will grant those who trust in Him perfect peace.

However, in the original Hebrew version there are three unusal words in these verses that are nearly identical and share the same root letters. The term used for “those” is yetzer,’’ which in this context means “creature.” Instead of the words typically employed by Scriptures to signify “the people” or “the man,” here, the Bible makes the unusual choice to refer to faithful people as creatureswhose minds are steadfast . . .”

Two words later in the Hebrew version, we read titzor, which in this context means “to keep,” but can also mean “to create.” Finally, in the next verse, God is referred to as tzur, which means “Rock,” as in the Creator and Sustainer of the world.

What can we learn from the Torah’s deliberate play on words?

The teaching is that our Creator created us, His creatures, to be peaceful, loving, trusting beings.

We weren't built to be stressed out. Carrying around worry is like a pickup truck hauling around a massive load of cement. It wasn’t built for carrying such a heavy load and neither were we! At our core, we are designed to be at peace. When we are at peace even in the face of difficulties, God gives us the perfect peace that He so desires to give us all.

There are many storms in life; we all will go through rough times. If we focus on the storm, we will almost always be in turmoil and experience a tumultuous existence. But when we focus on God, who is bigger than any storm, we can be at peace no matter what the external conditions are. God wants us to trust Him and live peacefully.

Once we have learned how to weather any storm with faith and tranquility, God can remove the storm and give us a much more pleasant atmosphere. Next time you find yourself in a storm, remember that you were created for peace.

Explore the blessing of peace in our lives with this free issue of our Bible study series, Limmud (“study” in Hebrew), “The Meaning of Shalom.”

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