Peace is an essential Jewish value. The word appears in the Tanach 240 times, thousands of times in the Talmud and works of Jewish philosophy, and it is the word with which we greet one another – Shalom.
But how can we ever find peace when our family is being slaughtered?
Friday, one week ago, four holy Jews – Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab, Phillipe Barham and François-Michel Saada – went to the local HyperCacher kosher market in Paris to buy food for Shabbat. As the sun was about to set on the mundane week and the holy Shabbat was about to begin, these four Jews were murdered by evil personified. These four precious souls gave up their lives in the sanctification of God’s Name!
As they were laid to rest on Jerusalem’s Har Menuchot on Tuesday, the words of the mourners’ Kaddish echoed throughout the world:
Oseh Shalom … He who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and let us say, Amen.
How do we bring that peace from His heights into our earthly chaos below?
As Moses rose up against Pharaoh and the Egyptians, so too, must we rise up against the modern-day mutations of this evil. To shrug, be silent or helpless is not an option. Peace (or freedom) will not be achieved with eulogies – this is a time for action.
Ten plagues were visited upon Egypt; ten steps which are our template for turning constricting exile into liberating freedom. Within the seventh plague of hail lies our answer to avenging the blood of our holy brothers, to finding peace at last.