Peace Parsha: In Search of an Unbroken Peace

peace_parsha_logo186x140by APN's summer intern Hannah Ehlers

Israel is no stranger to blaring sirens and rockets soaring overhead, crashing violently or intercepted in repeated close calls. Israel also is no stranger to fear—a genuine, existential fear that does not subside even when the rocket fire goes away. Every reasonable person wants peace and knows that violence is not the way to achieve it. But do enough people, Israelis and Palestinians, believe in the possibility of peace to make it happen?  

 

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Peace Parsha: “By Spirit Alone”: Force Should be the Absolute Last Resort

by APN's Summer Intern, Hannah Ehlers

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Not by might and not by power,
but by spirit alone shall we all live in peace.

I can still remember as a young girl sitting on the sun-stained carpet of our synagogue’s makeshift music room and allowing my shy, quiet voice to rise with the voices of the other children surrounding me. Our childish, out-of-tune voices sang of our love of God, the Earth, and one another. Debbie Friedman’s song, “Not by Might, Not by Power” became my Sunday school favorite and, when I was brave enough to speak up, I requested it and shouted “ruach!” as loud as I could at the right time.

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Peace Parsha: For the Love of Israel: Korach and the Settlements

by APN's Summer Intern, Hannah Ehlers

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This week’s Torah portion (Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32) concerns the dangers of complacency and the unfairness of acting at the expense of others, matters relevant to events in Israel today. Korach leads a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. 250 followers join Korach to challenge the leadership of Moses and Aaron, demanding priesthood in addition to the “service of the tabernacle of God” (Numbers 16:9) to which they, as Levites, are already assigned. These actions by Korach and his cohorts, and the lack of opposition by the greater community, ultimately result in immense suffering—the earth swallows Korach and his men and a deadly plague spreads through the Israelite community.

God initially sought to destroy the entire community as punishment for Korach and his followers’ sins. But Moses and Aaron pleaded for fairness: “O God, Source of the spirit of all flesh! When one man sins, will You be wrathful with the whole community?” (Numbers 16:22). God relented and instructed the prophets to tell the Israelites to “depart… from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away in all their sins” (Numbers 16:26). Besides the 250 men with Korach, the rest of the community is largely uninvolved in the conflict between the rebels and the prophets. God views the community’s indifference as betrayal and demands that they act.

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