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Iyar 15

If one brings peace to one's own household, it is as though one brought peace to all of Israel (Avos De R' Nosson 28:3).

A scourge has plagued our people throughout its entire history - internal strife. A unified Jewish people has such strength that the Talmud states that when there is brotherhood among all Jews, God overlooks even their worst transgressions.

How can such peace be achieved? The Talmud suggests a simple approach: start with the family.

Domestic peace is achieved only when husbands, wives, parents, and children learn to respect each other's wishes, to yield personal preferences, to listen to others' points of view, and to resolve differences amicably. Children who grow up in a family where there is no strife or envy and where everyone makes an effort to accommodate and maintain peace will incorporate these attitudes as part of their character. They will then practice them when relating to people outside the family.

Expecting people to behave in ways to which they have not been accustomed previously is unrealistic. Children who were raised in homes where there was frequent bickering, with no yielding and no compromise among the parents, and where sibling rivalry was not appropriately resolved are unlikely to build a harmonious and peaceful society.

Today I shall...

beginning with myself, try to establish peace within my home by avoiding harsh speech and actions, being tolerant of others' opinions, and being willing to compromise.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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