on Thursday, 25 December 2014.
Posted in Rabbi's Blog
Shalom Bayit – Peace in the Home
Shalom bayit means so much more than “peace in the home.” The word shalom, peace, is related to the word for wholeness, shelimut. When a person is not whole or complete with him/herself, s/he cannot promote harmony and unity with others. This is true in a family setting, as well as within those other “family” units in our lives. The more whole we become as human beings, the more wholeness and peace we can bring into our homes and to the world around us.
Shalom bayit is at the crossroads of the entire body of middot (character development). This value is ideally modelled each and every day. Examples of behaviors that promote peaceful relationships in the home include:
Derech eretz: the “acceptable way,” generally taken to mean “good manners.” This implies not only etiquette, but high standards of honorable, dignified behavior, self-sufficiency, respectable appearance and genuine concern for others’ feelings. This term is used to remind children of the standards we hold for proper behavior.
Lashon tov: “Good speech.” The great emphasis on proper speech is one of the unique aspects of Jewish values. Jewish law considers the kashrut of what comes out of our mouths (words) at least as important as the kashrut of what goes into them. Especially to be avoided is lashon hara, “evil speech,” which means any slanderous gossip about others, even if true.
Addressing anger: The Sages teach: Anger in a home is like a worm in a fruit. (Talmud Sotah 3b). Life is messy and the growth of relationships is not linear. Something could look “perfect” on the outside and be rotten or dysfunctional on the inside. Something could be imperfect on the outside (as is often the case with organic produce) and delicious and functional on the inside.
How might anger be overcome? How might it help to recognize the true source of this anger?
The mezuzah is not an amulet, but a symbolic reminder to let God dwell within us, in all of our comings and goings. It is also a daily visual reminder of how we are expected to act with kavod toward others and how we may expect them to act toward us.
Seek Peace from Within
Rabbi Bunam taught: “our Sages say: ‘Seek peace in your own place.’ You cannot find peace anywhere except in your own self. In the psalm we read: ‘There is no peace in my bones because of my sin.’ When people have made peace within themselves, they will be able to make peace in the whole world.’” (Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim: The Later Masters, p. 264)
With what do you need to make peace within yourself?
Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi
Congregation Or Shalom21 Hawthorn ParkwayVernon Hills, IL 60061
Office HoursMondays: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Tuesdays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.Wednesdays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.Thursdays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.Fridays: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
P: 847-362-1948F: 847-362-7348
The Safer Synagogues program engages congregational leadership in learning and dialogue about the impact of abuse across the lifespan, improving access to support for congregants experiencing abusive situations, and coordinated community strategies that perpetuate healthy, peaceful Jewish homes, families and relationships. Please click here for more information.