Tzemach Tzadik by Rabbi Leone di Modena Chapter 10 Peace


Back to chapter 9 about sadness and worry

Translated by Ralph Anzarouth and an anonymous friend


Our Sages gathered and came to the conclusion that the only fit receptacle for blessing is peace, which is purity of thought, cleanness of spirit, pleasantness of heart, and serenity of life. It is the fellow and friend of justice.

There are three forms of peace:

  • peace between man himself and his own inciting evil inclinations;
  • peace between man and his Lord;
  • peace between fellow men.

And so the Bible says (First Book of Samuel 25, 6): "May you live in peace, your house be peaceful, and all that is yours be in peace". Man acquires this asset by way of Torah study, as it is said (Proverbs 3, 17): "Her ways are pleasant and all her paths are peace".

Our sages of blessed memory say in the Ethics of the Fathers (Avot 1, N): "Be counted among the students of Aharon: love peace and pursue it, love your fellow creatures and draw them near to the Torah". Our Sages said (Talmud Bavli, tractate Shabbat 10b): "The Lord's name is peace, as it says (Judges 6, 24) 'And he called Hashem 'Shalom' (Peace)'." We also find that this is the blessing of Hashem, as it is said (Psalms 29, 11): "Hashem will give strength to His people, Hashem will bless His people with peace". We can observe the trait of peace in the animal known as the beaver, which instinctively knows that hunters pursue it for its testicles which are known to have medicinal properties. Therefore, when he finds himself hunted with no way of escape to the left or to the right, in order to save itself it detaches its testicles with its teeth and throws them down so that the hunters will take them and he can be in peace.

Plato said that no wealth can be compared with peace. Always strive to be at peace with virtues and at war with shortcomings and thus attain perfection.

In Roman literature it is written about an important and valiant man called Hippolytus, who after his father's decease waged a lengthy and grave conflict with one of his peers called Lostigo, who was also strong and eminent. When finally Hippolytus realized his own personal anguish and the distress of his servants and attendants on account of the severity of this war, he got up in the middle of the night and went lone and unaccompanied to his enemy's fortress. He called out: "Open the gates for me, for I am Hippolytus and I have come unattended". The guards were surprised and reported this to their master within. When Lostigo heard that his enemy had come alone and unarmed he ordered the gates to be opened.

Hippolytus ran to Lostigo his foe and embraced and kissed him and said: "Dear and pleasant brother, I beg for your pardon and forgiveness for all that I have sinned against you and wronged you and I forgive you wholeheartedly for all wrongdoings against me and I call upon you to make peace, since I prefer your domination over me to my ruling over my servants."

When Lostigo saw this, he was greatly softened, placed a rope over his head, knelt before [Hippolytus], raised his voice in weeping and each wept over his fellow, each saying to the other: "Forgive me, my brother!". In this way they made peace with each other to such an extent that even flesh and blood brothers could not have been truer friends than these two for the rest of their lives.

The whole book Tzemach Tzadik in Hebrew (printed in Rashi characters) can be downloaded in PDF format and read online at Chapter 10 about peace is found at pages 21-22.