What is peace?


The word, ‘shalom’ which means peace, doesn’t mean the absence of complexity. Shalom, peace, isn’t simple.

Boxing day is my father’s birthday. Our tradition has been to pack a picnic and go to Montreal to celebrate. My father would be at his charming best with champagne and sweets at a family party we all loved. This year, for the first time, we’re celebrating in his absence with a small intimate gathering at my house. Together, we want to carry his memory forward without it becoming overwhelming.

Rabbi Kook said, “You think the word shalom means the absence of conflict. No, it’s the all-encompassing container for multitudes. Even things that contradict can be held in the vessel called peace, shalom. In fact, that’s the only way it happens. Shalom is a higher order of a previous level of complexity, the way Einstein might say: ‘problems don’t get resolved on the level at which they arise, but at a level above that.’” Shalom, peace, is that precipice from which we can hold many pieces, many of which we otherwise would not be able to hold.*

*David Ingber

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