“And great will be the peace of your children (banayich)” (Isaiah, 54)
These words from this week’s Haftorah are the source of a famous Rabbinic pun. The Talmud (Berachos, 64a) suggests that instead of reading this verse to refer to children (banayich), rather it should be interpreted to refer to builders (bonayich) – “and great will be the peace of your builders.” In the Talmud’s reading, the builders is a reference to Torah scholars. Without further analyzing the Talmudic passage, what is clear is that there are two forms of peace; peace of children and peace of builders. The peace of children is natural. Though children may quarrel and even fight, there is a natural bond that connects them. The second form of peace, peace of builders, is unnatural and takes work. Like Torah scholars who fiercely debate the true interpretation of our sacred texts but ultimately find a resolution, there is a from of peace that takes great effort and because of that effort, its peace is long-lasting.
This past week, a peace accord of epic proportions took place. It was hard to notice amidst all the national news, and it is hard to believe in this year of setbacks that something so good could have transpired, but we would be mistaken to not dwell upon this moment. Thomas Friedman, an otherwise rather vocal critic of Israel, described the peace deal as “a geopolitical earthquake” and “a breath of fresh air.” The peace accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, brokered by President Trump, has the capacity to have a long-lasting positive impact on the Jewish State. We are indebted to the “builders” people like Mossad Director, Yossi Cohen and Jared Kushner, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen. We hope and pray that this peace if of the long-lasting type and brings with it a sea of change in the region.
May the God of peace, continue to bless us with peace, and may we continue to see the flourishing of the ultimate peace.