Rabbi Maurice Michaels preached on the UN International Day of Peace yesterday at the North Western Reform Synagogue (Alyth). He said peace is of the highest importance in Judaism.
In the midrash, Sifrei, Rabbi Levi said, ‘Peace is precious, for the blessings after the Sh’ma and at the end of the Amidah conclude with a prayer for peace. The priests’ blessing also ends with a prayer for peace, for none of the blessings is at all beneficial unless peace is also present.’
Pirkei Avot, the manual of ethical teachings of the sages, includes Rabban Gamliel’s saying, ‘The world is sustained by three things – by justice, by truth, and by peace, as it is said’ – quoting the prophet Zechariah – ‘Render in your gates judgements that are true and make for peace’.
And, of course, we have Hillel’s instruction, ‘Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace’.
The Jewish community is observing the time of Sukkot at the moment.
Rabbi Michaels went on
the mishnah asks ‘Who is the greatest hero?’ and responds, ‘One who changes an enemy into a friend’.
Download the full sermon here.
Londoners from all religious and non-religious traditions are invited to join together for the Flights for Peace on Sunday afternoon (22nd September) at 2pm-3pm.