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48 Ways to Acquire the Torah: Way #40

Pirkei Avot, “Ethics of the Fathers,” states in chapter 6:6: “The Torah is acquired in 48 ways.” This week: Way #40, “Guiding a person to peace.”

A Talmudic statement appears in the prayerbook, in some versions daily and in other versions weekly: “Torah scholars increase peace in the world.”

One may lack a sense of peace because of inner turmoil, family difficulties, poverty or political instability. Each circumstance invites its own solution, such as therapy, friendship, work or migration. But all difficult circumstances benefit from a separate dispensation: the tranquility bestowed by a Torah scholar.

Even saying nothing, teaching nothing, issuing no ruling, a student of Torah should emanate inner peace and faith, a certain aura, then cultivate that in others. By doing so, the student acquires the Torah.

True, a student of Torah should also cultivate struggle: a continual quest for more knowledge, growth in character and spirituality. The balance between struggle and tranquility is a subtle and critical challenge for the student of Torah. However each student might shape this balance in his or her own life, he and she will, if authentic, radiate at least some measure of tranquility.

This is what motivates and enables people to acquire the Torah in the first place.

The 40th way to acquire the Torah: Guiding a Person to Peace.

Hillel Goldberg

IJN Executive Editor |

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