Honorable Mensch-ion


Shalom is typically the first Hebrew word that a Jewish child learns. Hello, goodbye, and peace. Our liturgy is filled with prayers for peace; peace for the world, peace for the land of Israel, and peace within our hearts and souls. Our Jewish lives are filled with this desire and wish.

As a rabbi, I recite the Birkat Kohanim, the ancient priestly blessing, at all sacred occasions; when a child is born, at B’nai Mitzvah, and under the chuppa as bride and groom wrap themselves in tallit. This three fold prayer asks for three distinct blessings: material, intellectual, and spiritual. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch teaches that the third blessing is the most valuable of all, since material and intellectual are but means to an end.

Shalom, peace, is an end to itself. We must dedicate our material and intellectual blessings to the pursuit of Shalom. The Rabbis differ as to when this blessing should be recited. Yet, they all do agree on one point, it should always be recited with joy. As we sit down this Shabbat of Memorial Day weekend, may we have the insight to recite this blessing of peace, reminding us that when that day comes, we too will be filled with joy.

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