University of Cincinnati Hillel Foundation Archive Documents 1948 – 1949 Academic year

Shalom! Peace! This is the tra-ditional salutation of Jews throughout the ages and strikes the keynote, if a religion can have a keynote, of Judaism. In the Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, Rabbinical teachings of ancient days to modern times, and in our prayers, eternal peace is the undying, fervent wish of our people. It is said in Gittin, “The entire Torah exists only for the sake of peace, as it is written, ‘its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace!” We constantly pray: “Grant us peace, and enable Israel to be its messenger unto the peoples of the earth.” We Jews crystallize this prayer for everlasting peace in our vision of establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth – the Messianic Age. We eagerly look forward to the day when war, oppression, and wickedness will be at an end, and in their place peace, freedom, and lovingkindness will dominate. This dream of the future, that gives meaning to our lives and to our history, that sets a goal for our lives, is our hope for the ushering in of an unending era of peace. But what shall be the basis, the foundation for this peace we seek? The Rabbis say, “The world rests upon three things: on justice, on truth, and on peace. And all three are one, for where there is justice, there is also truth and there is peace.” Here is our answer. Peace without justice would be pure folly. It would not only be morally condemnable and contrary to our high concept of righteousness, but would work against man’s very nature and would be unworkable for any length of time. Thus far this is on a lofty, idealistic level, so let us get our heads out of the clouds and descend to earthly realisms. We must do more than realize the blessings of peace, do more than pray for its early inception, do more than envision its coming in the Messianic Age. We must examine and study the world situation and then use our rational powers to find the best solution. When we arrive at this solution, we must work hard and give our all to attain our goal of peace.To yank out the ugly weed of war and to plant in its place the beautiful rose of peace, we must find the cause of the roots of this weed. The only cause of war is anarchy. Throughout history, wars of a greater or lesser degree have been waged between separate sovereign units, and only when this sovereignty is transferred to a higher community embracing these separate units has peace been established. Down through the stages of history, we have man, the family, the tribe, the city, the feudal lord, the nation. Each fought with its corresponding unit until the sovereignty of each was limited and transferred to a larger, all inclusive nit. Within that larger nit peace reigned among the people until that unit battled with a similar unit. But we still will not learn our lesson. We insist upon retaining our eighteenth century nation-state system in a twentieth century world. Scientifically, we have made enormous strides. Politically, we have stood still. The nations of the world become more and more interdependent every day in every way, with greatly improved communication and transportation systems making the world one in fact as well as in theory. When will we supposedly intelligent mortals wake up and realize we must modify our eighteenth century nation-state system and form at least a limited world government? What? And give up our sovereignty you say? The only sovereignty this or any nation has is within its own boundaries. Other countries can do as they please affecting us, and force us to act contrary to our original desires.


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