The Torah states:

“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘So shall you bless the Children of Israel: saying to them, “May God bless you and safeguard you. May God make His countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God lift His countenance to you and establish peace for you.” ‘ ”

Immediately prior to the Kohanim delivering the blessing, they say, “He (God) commanded us to bless His nation, Israel with love.” Where in the above commandment do we find any reference to blessing Israel with love?

Perhaps the interpretation is not only that they should deliver the blessing with love, i.e., that the Kohanim should feel love for Israel when blessing them, that also that “with love” is the content of the blessing. The blessing is that Israel should feel love, that they should have love for one another. According to this interpretation, it lies well within the commandment.

The blessing culminates that God should bless Israel with peace. The blessing of peace can be merited only when there is love among Jews.

When there is dissension and strife among Jews, they cannot expect to enjoy the blessing of peace.

We long for and pray for peace. However, the key to peace is in our own hands. If we can overlook the differences between us, many of which are the result of self-centeredness, and achieve love for one another, we will merit the Divine blessing of shalom.

In addition to meaning “peace,” shalom can also be read as shaleim, “whole.” If we are fragmented rather than whole, we cannot have the shalom of peace.


Shabbat shalom,