You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. — Isaiah 26: 3–4
Our beautiful verses from the book of Isaiah talk about trusting in God and God giving us peace. Yet, like so many verses in the Bible, when we look closer at the words in the original Hebrew, deeper nuances and meaning emerge.
First, let’s take a look at the verse in English: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.” On the surface, we get the message that God will grant those who trust in Him perfect peace.
Now, I’d like to point out three unusual words in the original Hebrew version found in these verses that are nearly identical and share the same root letters. The term used for “those whose minds are steadfast” is yetzer. In this context yetzer means “creature.” Instead of the typical words employed by Scriptures that mean “the person” or “the man,” here, the Bible makes the unusual choice to refer to faithful people as creatures “whose minds are steadfast . . . ” Two words later, we find the word titzor, which in this context means “to keep” or “to guard,” but can also mean “to create.” Finally, in the second verse, God is referred to a tzur, which means “Rock,” as in the Creator and Sustainer of the world.
What can we learn from the Torah’s deliberate play on words?
On the one hand, the message is very simple and, yet on the other hand, the most complicated idea to instill into one’s life. When we act as the creatures who God, our Creator and Sustainer, created us to be, then God will react toward us in the way that He wants to be manifested in our lives and in our world. In other words, we were created in the image of God. We were intended to be peaceful and loving, trusting fully in God. When we learn to be truly at peace, God gives us perfect peace.
There are many storms in life, and everyone goes through rough times. If we focus on the storm, we will be in turmoil and experience a tumultuous existence. But when we focus on God, who is bigger than any storm, we can be at peace no matter what the external conditions are. God wants us to trust him and live peacefully. Once we have learned how to weather any storm with faith and tranquility, God can remove the storm and give us a more appealing and calming atmosphere.
Next time you find yourself in a storm, remember that you were created for peace. Stay in peace and God will grant you the peace that He so desires to give us all.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President