The greatest goal of all religions is to achieve universal peace. But how? That is the question that has vexed all faiths since the beginnings of time. Judaism has also wrestled with this challenge ever since the days of the Prophets of Israel. Judaism has sought the proper formula for finally achieving shalom—genuine peace for all peoples and nations. Shalom has many meanings. Of course, it implies the absence of wars, but it also suggests wholeness, completeness, safety and soundness, wellness, security, integrity, grace, and harmony for the soul, etc. Judaism is a legal religion, and as a result it struggled to enforce shalom by legal means, by drafting a legal code that would advance the cause of lasting peace for all segments of society and all nations. It created a concept known as darkei shalom—literally, "the ways or paths of peace." The author was astonished to discover over 5,300 sources in the Talmud, Midrashim, responsa literature, law codes, and philosophical and ethical writings that deal with this topic, ranging from the days of the Mishnah to contemporary scholars and rabbis and in every land of Jewish settlement. Clearly, this is indicative of the supreme importance the rabbis placed on the concept of how to achieve peace in society—among neighbors and religions and in the world at large. The legal aspects are divided into six distinct categories: ritual peace, peace between neighbors and property rights, domestic peace, peace in dealing with the government, peace and the imperative of truth, and peace in dealing with people of other faiths.


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pp. 46-68
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