Peace Lessons from the Torah

With more than 40 years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Leib Tropper provides guidance to organizations that seek peace among different nations and peoples. Leib Tropper teaches classes in Jewish philosophy and law in New York City.

The Torah teaches that the world endures on justice, truth, and peace. These concepts seem simple enough in theory but they sometimes prove difficult to attain in everyday life. Truth sometimes makes people feel uncomfortable because it causes them to realize that their deeply held beliefs may require re-evaluation. To achieve justice and peace, however, people need to examine the issues to ensure they understand the truth behind them. Without the fog created by belief systems that may be hundreds of years old and based on shoddy or ambiguous facts, people gain the opportunity to establish new ideas and theories that enable them to move forward on a path that benefits their personal growth and that of the world community.

Nonetheless, the truth truly sets people free. Throughout history, people often tried to warn the general public about events that led to catastrophes and tragedies. Many people in Germany and outside of Germany warned of the civil rights violations against Jews that eventually led to the worst atrocities of the Holocaust. A greater number of people ignored or hid from the truth, allowing these horrific activities to continue and escalate. While no one knows whether earlier intervention would have circumvented the problem, it seems very probable that exposing the Nazi government’s actions to public scrutiny would have caused officials to rethink their behavior rather than risk negative publicity.

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