For the week ending 21 May 2005 / 12 Iyyar 5765

In Pursuit of Peace

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: I have two close friends who recently got into a fight over what I consider a very insignificant matter. It hurts me to see them so angry at each other and I would love to see them make peace. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: The Sage Hillel urged us to be disciples of Aharon Hakohen who was "a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace". (Pirkei Avot 1:12).

Your love of peace which motivates you to effect reconciliation between your friends demonstrates that you are a disciple of Aharon. In pursuing peace it is crucial to use your imagination and to expend every effort. The following two examples from the Talmud may give you an idea:

When Aharon saw two friends who had a fight and parted ways, he went to each of them with the same fabricated story: "I just came from your old friend and he is terribly upset that he hurt your feelings and is anxious to make peace." When the two of them eventually ran into each other, they embraced and made peace.

The Sage Broka Chazai asked the Prophet Eliyahu if there was anyone in the Bet Luft marketplace where they stood who was a "citizen of the World to Come". He was directed to two brothers whom he asked what special merit they had. "We are happy people who know how to make others happy," they explained. "When we see two people getting into a fight we make both of them laugh and thus restore peace."

Every situation is different and all of us have different talents for peacemaking. But as long as we are genuinely dedicated to pursuing peace, Heaven will help us achieve our goal.

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