The Torah of Peace

Friday, 17 February, 2017 - 9:58 am

MS.jpgThe Torah of Peace

The number one is an important number in Judaism. G-d is one. The messianic era, when the world will reach perfection, is described by the Prophet as a time when “the Lord will be one and his name will be one”.[1]

Yet, in the story of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the number that we keep hearing about is not the number one, but rather the number three:

In the third month of the children of Israel's departure from Egypt, on this day they arrived in the desert of Sinai.[2]

Indeed the Talmud draws our attention to many aspects of the story that are associated with the number three:

“Blessed is G-d who has given us a Torah of three [Scripture, Prophets and Writings], to a nation of three [The Jewish people who are comprised of Kohanim, Levites, and Israelites], through [a man] who is third [Moses was the third child to be born in his family], on the third day [of preparation for the giving of the Torah], in the third month”.

It seems then, that the purpose of the Torah is expressed in the number three. The number one represents singularity, the number two represents division, and the number three represents peace and harmony.

To Illustrate:

Scenario number one: Person A is giving a lecture; he is feeling great about himself, for after all it seems that his opinion is uncontested. Nobody is calling out and objecting. He therefore is sure that his opinion must be correct. The problem, however, is that person A happens to be giving his lecture to an empty room with no one else present. Person A represents the state of number one, he is alone in his environment. There may not be war but it is not peace, for peace requires two entities coming together, while person A is only a single individual.  

Scenario number two: And then it happens. Person B enters the lecture hall and before long he is arguing with person A. They are disagreeing about everything. They seem to have opposing perspectives on every issue. They are divided.

Scenario number three: Person C enters the lecture hall and observes persons A and B arguing. After listening for a while he cries: “hey! the two of you are saying the same thing in different words! if you just stop to listen for a moment you will discover that, in fact, there is no disagreement at all!”. Person C then is the third person bringing the other two together. They are finally united.

This is the story of creation.

G-d was the only existence. There was nothing else aside from him. He was one. There was only one perspective, but that was only because there was no one else to disagree. 

Sensing the inherent problem with this form of unity, G-d created the universe. As expected, as soon as the universe was created, disagreement erupted. From G-d’s perspective, he is the definition of reality, after all he is the creator of the universe. The people walking the earth, however, disagree. The human consciousness feels that he or she is at the center of the universe, that the ultimate reality is the physical one, and that spirituality, while an interesting idea, is an abstract intellectual idea that has no bearing on the concrete reality.

These are two very different perspectives; thus the dispute lives on.

Ant then, at last, the time for the third perspective has arrived. The Torah given at Sinai teaches us to listen carefully to the universe around us, to peel away the layers of existence and to discover that the dueling voices of reality are, in fact, in no dispute at all. That the universe, albeit in its own way, declares the greatness of its creator.

Thus in the third month we discover the third perspective.

Through the Torah we discover that true peace is found in the number three, in the third perspective which understands that the seemingly contradictory perspectives of G-d and the world are in no dispute at all. That, in truth, at its core, the universe wants nothing more than to reconnect with its divine source.[3]



[1] Zechariah 14:9.

[2] Exodus 19:1.

[3] Bases on the teachings of the Rebbe, Emor 5749. 

Comments on: The Torah of Peace

Alex Troy wrote...

Bravo, Rabbi. let the disputes melt away in the face of the highest truth.
Shabbat Shalom.