Keeping the Peace by Ari Levine


The first Pasuk of Sefer Bamidbar says, “Vaydaber Hashem El Moshe BeMidbar Sinai,” “And Hashem spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai.”  We all know that Sinai was a part of the desert in which Bnei Yisrael were wandering, so why must the Pasuk say “BeMidbar Sinai” and not just “Sinai?”

The Gematria of the words Midbar Sinai is 376, which is also the Gematria of the word Shalom, peace.  This can be related to Rashi's famous comment in Sefer Shemot regarding the use of a singular verb (“Vayichan” instead of “Vayachanu”) to describe Bnei Yisrael at Har Sinai.  In fact there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people present, but a singular verb is used because Bnei Yisrael were like one, in that they had one common interest: receiving the Torah.  The Panim Yafot comments that the significance of the seemingly extra word Bemidbar, which alludes to peace, means that in order for Bnei Yisrael to receive the Torah, there must be peace amongst them.

It is very important for us, Am Yisrael, not to fight with each other, especially over what is currently happening in Gush Katif with the disengagement plan.  Despite our disagreements, we must keep our composure and ensure that Shalom reigns amongst us.  Let Parshat Bemidbar be a reminder to us to try to make peace with our fellow Jews, even if they do not share the same political views.

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