What is peace? And how do we attain more of it in our lives?
Google offers two definitions of the English word “peace”:
* freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility
* freedom from or the cessation of war or violence
Accordingly, it appears that peace has two dimensions: inner (psychological-spiritual) and outer (political-social). Peace must encompass both dimensions – inner and outer – for it to be complete.
So its not enough to meditate in the woods like a Buddhist and achieve “inner tranquility” while the world blazes with violence.
But its also not enough for political leaders to forge treaties between warring nationalities, like Israelis and Palestinians, if the peoples’ hearts are still filled with hatred and vengeance.
True peace, shalom, embraces both internal and external conditions, as the Language of ‘ELOHIM suggests.
The ancient Canaanite-Hebrew word shalom (שלום) | mwls | is rich in meaning. The Langenscheidt Hebrew-English Dictionary defines shalom not only as “peace” but also “health, welfare, good condition, success, comfort; salvation; adj well, peaceful, secure, whole.”
That last definition, “whole”, is fundamental to understanding peace. Things that are “whole” are undivided within themselves, they unite all elements without contradiction; they have integrity.
Root of Peace
In fact, by inspecting shalom’s root, we realize that peace is wholeness.
Shalom (שלום) is rooted in shalahm (שלם), the verb meaning “to be whole, uninjured, safe and sound, peaceful, friendly.”
In its active-intensive form, shalahm means “to complete, to restore, to give back, repay, requite, reward“. In its receptive-intensive form, it means: “to be paid, repaid, requited, rewarded; to be at friendship.”
So “peace” is rooted in the concept of completion, which implies going full circle by giving back to the other. Hence peace ultimately flows from the human ability to form friendship (with self and others).
In order for peace to be real, it must be a comprehensive peace. Half-measures won’t work. Neglecting one side’s needs to benefit the other will only lead to frustration and more conflict.
On the contrary, we must acknowledge any and all outstanding issues between conflicting sides. Peace requires closure, which only comes from closing, or completing, the circle of reconciliation.
Shalom emerges when we set aside differences that divide us, and offer shelehm (שלם), “requital, thanks” to the other. Even our supposed enemies have something to teach us that is worthy of thanksgiving, even if said thanksgiving is given silently, from your spiritual center.
Drawing Out Peace
In this Messianic Torah system, there are two letters that serve as primary keys for unlocking everything. These two letter-keys are ‘ahleph (אלף) and heh (הא), and they’re infinitely available for usage, as long as we use restraint and respect context.
Now observe: if we remove the last letter from shalom, the “m” or final mem (ם) and insert a heh (ה) we produce the word shahlah (שלה) a verb meaning “to be quiet, tranquil, at ease.” In its passive form, shahlah means “to be secure.”
Looking at it another way, shahlah, “to be quiet, tranquil, at ease” is another linguistic root from which shalom, peace, draws its calming sustenance.
There is another word, shahlah (שלה), a homonym of the verb above, which carries a different meaning: “to draw out, to extract.” In the pits of conflict, peace is a valuable ore that must be carefully drawn out.
Like the ancient comedy Peace by Aristophanes, wherein Trygaeus declares: “There is now, O men of Greece, a favorable opportunity for us, while we are free from troubles and battles, to draw out peace, beloved by all, before any other pestle again prevent us.”
Maximum Freedom = Maximum Responsibility
Let’s circle back to the beginning of this investigation, and recognize that “peace” is defined both in English and Hebrew as “freedom from conflict.” This concept of freedom from is important – it implies that shalom is the natural state, if only we could remove the impurities and tensions that sow division.
But as Messiah has taught over the decades of our organization’s existence, freedom exists in a relationship with responsibility, they are comple/iments of each other. You can’t have one without the other. The same goes for peace.
Yes, peace is a kind of freedom from conflict. But its also an act of taking responsibility for the mistakes of the past, and for the present and future safety and security of all involved.
The Language confirms this sense of responsibility when we reduce Shalom (שלום) to its first two letters, also known as its biliteral root, shiyn-lahmahd (של), which forms the preposition, shel, “of”.
Shel (של) is grammatically a “particle denoting relation”, meaning “because of, on account of”. In different formulations, it can also mean “because of me” as well as pose the question, “on whose account?” Peace thus is rooted in the concept of relational accountability, the willingness to accept responsibility or account for one’s actions.
Again, peace begins with a preposition (“of“) which, by definition, “expresses a relationship between a part and a whole.” Notice the consistency and redundancy within this holy Hebrew-Messianic system. Like peace itself, every piece fits into the greater whole.
When we take accountability for our own actions, responsibility for our impact on other life-forms, and on the earth, then shall we begin to build shal_wah (שלוה), “tranquility, security, rest” even “carelessness” (in the positive sense of being free from worry.)
Having established that shalom, peace, is rooted in the concepts of completion, friendship, quiet, tranquility, freedom and responsibility, we can now move forward from right-to-left as we further unlock the word using the Messianic Method.
Thousands of more pages could be filled with information about peace as we apply the Method, but for the sake of length and time, we’ll conclude this investigation with one or two more observations:
We can isolate the lahmahd-wahw (לו) biliteral within shalom (שלום) and affix a heh (ה) to it, thereby producing the verb lahwah (לוה), meaning “to cleave to, to accompany; to borrow.” In its passive form, “to join, to attach oneself.” In its causative form, “to lend.”
Not to pick on Buddhists, but peace isn’t about detaching oneself and hiding away in the mountains to seek out your own individual enlightenment. No, peace demands a passionate attachment to the health and well-being of the other. Peace means reaching across the gap of misunderstanding and embracing the other.
This last gleaning, lahwah (לוה), “cleaving”, underlies not only shalom (שלום), “peace”, but also kawwanah (כונה), that Jewish-Kabbalistic term that refers to a spiritual exercise of cleaving to GOD through directing one’s intentions, feelings, and heart towards achieving that unity.
Peace is a Choice
Peace is a mission worth lahwah (לוה), “cleaving, joining” to, even if the struggle for shalom (שלום) makes us feel la’ah (לאה), “tired, weary.” Indeed this is the work of every human being on planet earth. We are our brothers’ keepers, here to keep the peace by extracting the love from any dispute or conflict.
Or maybe not. Perhaps instead of evolving, we will continue to just repeat the same mistakes of the past, and perpetuate the hate. Its really up to us.
As ‘ELOHIM has told us: “Peace will come on Earth with or without man. It is not a prerequisite for man to exist for there to be peace on earth.”
Let’s make the right choice. Let’s choose Love and Peace. If not for ourselves, then at least for the sake of our children. ‘Amen.