Bechukosai - The day after peace
Chananya Weissman


ואכלתם לחמכם לשבע

[כו:ו-זוְנָתַתִּי שָׁלוֹם בָּאָרֶץ וּשְׁכַבְתֶּם וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד וְהִשְׁבַּתִּי חַיָּה רָעָה מִןהָאָרֶץ וְחֶרֶב לֹאתַעֲבֹר בְּאַרְצְכֶם. וּרְדַפְתֶּם אֶתאֹיְבֵיכֶם וְנָפְלוּ לִפְנֵיכֶם לֶחָרֶב

In times of ultimate blessing Israel will be at such peace that a foreign army won't so much as pass through the land, even for purely benign purposes. It would be easy to think that this is indeed the ultimate blessing, that we could live in our land unmolested by our enemies. Yet this is only the first step; the following pasuk informs us that after this initial stage we will chase our enemies and defeat them. In other words, after we have peace in our land, after we are secure that our enemies are afraid to attack us, we are to send armies outside our borders on an offensive war, to retaliate against our enemies for past offenses and to subdue them once and for all.

The idea behind this blessing is particularly apt for our times, when we are weary from war and threats, and wish only to be left alone. Peace, in the sense that peace is a cessation of attacks against us, is not enough! True peace is only achieved after vengeance is exacted from our enemies for all the Jewish blood they have spilled and our enemies can no longer rise up against us. If we are unable (or unwilling) to achieve this at the present moment, we must at least not delude ourselves through fear or false morals into being spiritually satisfied with a mere cessation of attacks against us. The blood of the slain cries for justice, and the blood of the living will never be secure until our enemies are totally defeated.