Thursday, July 28, 2011


From the transcript of Rabbi Miller's lesson for the week of July 25, 2011

"We introduce the Tomer Devorah lesson on 'Shalom'. As we integrate Shalom, peace, into our interpersonal relationships, not only does it make peace in this world, which is solely in need of peace, but it also affects the Shamayim, the Sefiros, the Ten Illuminations, and it awakens the Source and the resources of peace in the Shamayim that then flows down upon us and brings peace into our lives. Before we begin this lesson, we offer a prayer that our learning today in the memory of the holy tzaddik, Rav Moshe Cordovero will ascend to Shamayim, to the Heavens and bring us peace and peace will flow down upon us and upon all the Klal Yisrael and all the world.

“Hillel says: Be among the students of Aaron-love peace and pursue peace, love people, and draw them close to Torah.”

Hillel told us, "Love peace and pursue peace" and then he said, "Love people" we might have thought that Hillel will first say, "Love people first," and, second, say, "Love peace." Why does he tell us, “First, love peace” and secondly, to love people? Because Hillel, in his great wisdom, reveals to us that, as much as we love people, as much as we want to love people, as much as we find joy in interpersonal relationships, we also know that interpersonal relationships are not always smooth sailing. There are ups and downs, sensitivities, and impasses and hurts along the way.

So before we love people, we have to first love peace. We have to go into the relationship with a firm and absolute commitment to peace no matter how the boat may rock, no matter what things come to try to disturb the relationship. We have to love peace so much, we pursue peace so much that nothing can derail us or distract us from loving people. This is a tremendous insight that Hillel tells us. We have to start every relationship with reminding ourselves and reinforcing in our hearts the love of peace. Just as peace is the foundation of the entire Torah, it's the foundation of every relationship. It's the prerequisite of every relationship.

Love peace and pursue peace then you can love people because that gives us the resilience, the love of peace to always follow through with the love of people and continued love of people because the love of peace is the foundation of all of our relationships.

The holy Rashi told us, "Im ayn Shalom, ayn klum." Rashi said, "If there's no peace, there's nothing." In other words, a life without peace is not a life. If we have discord in our lives and a lack of harmony and we're always arguing and fighting, it's not life. Life is only life when there's peace. If there's peace, then there's everything: there's happiness. there's tranquility, there's growth, there's harmony, blessings. It's a healthy relationship. 'Im ayn Shalom, ayn klum.' We have to remember that. First priority, first and foremost, we have to see to it that everything we do is rooted in peace. It's the foundation of our life because the roots of peace yield fruits of peace.

“Oseh Shalom B’mromov, Hu ya’a’she Shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael v'yimaru- Amen.”
He Who makes peace in the Heavens, May He make peace upon us and upon all Yisrael v'yimaru- Amen.

HaShem makes peace. He makes peace in the Heavens. He makes peace on the earth.
"Bakeish Shalom v'radfeihu, seek peace and pursue it. In other words, with other mitzvahs, if they come into our hands, we do it. But with peace we have to be proactive, we have to seek peace. Seek peace in your place or pursue it in another place. In other words, in your community, in your family you have to be proactive, to make peace between the family members, the community members, your neighbors, everybody that you can. Be proactive. And even in another community. Even in a place far away from you. If you hear there's a quarrel or dispute or a lack of harmony, do what you can to make peace in that other area. And this is the greatness of peace: making peace, being proactive. Initiate a peace effort.
(end of transcript)

Now that we have the wisdom (from this lesson) the responsibility is in our hands. We have the potential to create peace in our home, in our family, in our community and in the world.

How can we have peace in the world if we can't even have peace with the people we love or the people we interact with throughout our day?
When an interaction occurs that triggers a negative emotion, our immediate reaction must be to not react.
Take time to move away from the trigger effect of negative emotions. This allows us to move away from negativity, time to let the wisdom of the lessons- that have entered your subconscious mind- rise up to enlighten you.

When our negative emotions are triggered; when we are disappointed by the actions of others, or hurt by another person's comments, or when the events in our life that aren't exactly in line with our personal scripts- instead of instantly referring to the negative checklist we keep stored in our mind- IMMEDIATELY WE MUST TURN TO THE DESIRE FOR PEACE.

Instead of judging the comments of another human being, we must see beyond their words... all that should exist before us... is our desire for peace. We must feel the yearning to feel peace with this person. Instead of dissecting the words that other may speak, words that hurt us, let the words pass through you and not enter you. Visualize the words floating by you. FOCUS ONLY ON PEACE. Think of how much you desire peace. Think of how much this person cares for you. People we love don't intend to hurt us. Visualize peace. Remember a time when you felt the feeling of peace with this person. Remember the times when you laughed together or when this person stood by you in difficult times. Be compassionate. Be other-oriented. Realize this person may be carrying a heavy burden of pain and suffering that is invisible to you. Often, a stressful day at work is enough to cause unintentional negative comments. Let the comments slip past you, let them float over your head. Keep yourself grounded in the lightness, pleasantness and sweetness of peace.

If we allow the negative events (or negative words that others may unintentionally speak) of our day (or our negative commentary on the behavior of others) we cannot experience our own inner peace. Our joy, our happiness is interrupted. If we want to experience inner peace, calm, joy and love- the only way this is possible is to have peace of mind.
The path to our own peace of mind is to initiate peace.

Not only do we interrupt our own potential for inner peace but we interfere with the flow of blessings for peace from Shemayim. When we act without peace- when we react with negative comments, criticism or judgment-we are pushing HaShem's blessing out. The only way to allow our lives to overflow with His blessings... is to live with peace, to initiate peace and to pursue peace in all our personal interactions.

Give yourself the gift of joy, initiate peace.
You have the potential to bring peace to your own mind... focus on peace.
Visualize peace. What does it look like? What does it sound like?
Hear the sounds that come from the sweetness of words spoken in peace.
Hear someone speaking to you with words of peace. Speak those to others.
Open your heart to love. Let the words that may harm you, float past you.
Visualize the joy you feel when you experience peace.
Live with a passion for peace.

As Rav Yisarel Salanter signed his letters....
with blessings for peace.

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