"And I shall give peace in the land and you shall lie down without fear... and no sword shall cross your land" Leviticus 26:6

May 19, 2011

The assurance that the sword of war will not cross our borders is sufficient reason to rest peacefully at night. The mere fact that we have nothing to worry about should put our minds at ease. Why then does the Torah find it necessary to add to the promise of "no sword" the additional blessing that we will sleep without fear?

The Ozrover Rebbe (1889-1971) explains this verse as alluding not to the physical threat posed but rather to an imaginary sword. The type one conjures up in one's mind. Even after the shutters have been drawn and the windows and doors locked, this sword haunts us and is able to penetrate the most sophisticated security system. This is the sword of envy, the blade of jealousy towards one another. It starts with a person's dissatisfaction with his lot in life and manifests itself with constant backward glances at his neighbour's success. He cannot rest peacefully, as his days and nights are filled with anxiety and fear, the result of his imagination

The Torah bestows a second blessing on the committed Jew - the person who is willing to transcend the temptations this world has to offer, to devote himself to life with a spiritual dimension. He is guaranteed "to lie down with

out fear". It is a blessing that regardless of one's circumstance, he will sleep peacefully. He will not fear losing what he has amassed, nor will he experience the anxiety resulting from a deep-rooted envy of others. Although the emotional fear may be a figment of one's over-active imagination, nonetheless it poses as greater danger as that of its physical counterpart; it is the Torah which offers protection from both.

Last updated: 10:02am, May 19 2011