The United Nations is an attempt by world leaders to devise ways to bring about lasting peace. A monument in front of the UN headquarters in New York City expresses this hope. It bears an inscription which reads: "We shall beat our swords into plough shares".
So far, this promise has not borne fruit. In most parts of the world, people still prepare for war rather than for peace. The Communist bloc tried to create a worker's paradise by means of a militarily backed world revolution, and failed. Western powers tried to control the world by developing "clean atomic bombs" and the like. Arabs wage a "holy war" to destroy Israel and spread their present concept of Islam.
On the other hand, most of the "peace movements", motivated by a widespread fatigue and fear of war, say "no" to militarism but fail to provide a workable alternative. And no end of disarmament conferences nor grand economic schemes can change this gloomy picture, because they all forego the most essential condition for achieving the goal of peace and prosperity.
The Prophet Isaiah emphasizes the need to learn the Divine Law which will come forth from re-established Zion, and only then speaks the well-known words about beating swords into plough shares.
Let us see what he tells us in this context:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above all the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths'; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plough shares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord".
Thus, peace is the fruit of that justice which is valid in the eyes of the Lord. Peace cannot be established by imposing a self-styled justice on others. In other words, we may say that a sign on the road to true peace would be the acceptance of the Tanakh as an integral part of the United Nation's constitution.
Isaiah's concluding words: "O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord", will then apply not only to the sons of Jacob, but to all the nations which, in partnership with Israel, will endeavor to walk in the light of the Lord. "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered nor come to mind."Israel will also be renewed, as requested in one of our ancient prayers: "O cause a new light to shine upon Zion, and may we all soon be worthy to enjoy its brightness."
Monday, November 20, 2006
The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass. This version includes corrections and new materials that do not appear on the printed version