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How Are You Seeking Peace?

Posted on 10/19/2012 @ 08:11 PM

How are you seeking peace?

For centuries, olive branches have taken on the universal and symbolic meaning of peace and prosperity. Consider the following story in Greek Mythology: There was a certain Greek city that both Athena and Poseidon wished to become patron of and to give their name to. They competed for this honor and offered the city one gift each. Poseidon struck his trident into the ground and produced a saltwater spring. Athena planted an olive tree. Because of the contribution of olives and olive oil, and the peaceful nature of planting a tree, the residents accepted Athena’s gift and named the city Athens.

Towards the end of the flood in this week’s Torah portion (Parshat Noach) when it seemed that maybe the floodwaters were receding, Noah sent out a dove to see if there was dry land again. After an unsuccessful attempt, the dove brought back an olive leaf to Noah, and Noah knew that the flood waters were subsiding.

The object that the dove brought back could have been a rock, another type of leaf, or really anything that meant that dry land was exposed. Instead, it was an olive leaf – again a symbol of peace and a symbol that the destroyed world was now safe and that peace had replaced the raging waters.

Bakesh Shalom V’Rodfehu (To Seek Peace and Pursue It) is an important Jewish value. As leaders in BBYO, when conflict arises in our organization we have an opportunity to seek peace. Let’s strive to create a culture of extending the olive branch to those with whom we disagree, and to model the value of seeking peace to all of those who affiliate with our organization.

How will you seek peace during this upcoming week?

(This Shabbat message was led by Jessie Greenspan, Program Associate,BBYO Lake Ontario Region)

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