Torah Tidbits

Pathways to Peace featured-rabbi

Shabbat Parashat Chayei Sarah

November 15, 2014 – 22 Heshvan 5775

Dear Friends,

Three world leaders met this week to discuss plans for de-escalating the recent tensions surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem –  the Prime Minister of Israel, the King of Jordan, and the Secretary of State of the United States.  And, they seem to have come up with a plan.  Sometimes, even when all efforts to come together in peace seem to be remote, we experience a breakthrough and new pathways to peace are forged.

In our Torah portion of Chayei Sarah, Abraham sets out to purchase the cave of Machpelach from the Hitites in order to secure a burial site for his beloved Sarah.  Despite his deep mourning, Abraham understands that he must pay attention to: words that are spoken in order to open the negotiations; language used to solidify the details of the agreement; and, even body language as it would be perceived by those witnessing the closing of the purchase of the cave.  Abraham knew that he was dealing with a group of people who were not necessarily in favor of his purchase, and who could potentially contest his right to the land upon which the cave was located.  He was working not only to secure the land, but also to ensure ongoing peaceful relations between Abraham’s own family and the neighboring Hitites.

This ancient story reminds us that, as long as we have a partner at the negotiating table, even when we are under stress, as Abraham must have been when he suffered the loss of his wife, we may best advance the cause of peace by paying close attention to the words we use, to the terms we craft for our interactions, and to the feelings we convey as we interact with others.

It also reminds us that with such attention to detail, we may be privileged to discover pathways to peace, even in situations when none had previously been apparent on the surface.

May we be blessed with true and lasting peace in our homes and in our community, as well as in Jerusalem!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror