The Key to Achieving Shalom in Our Lives

Yael and her children on the beach.

What comes to mind when you hear the word shalom? Maybe you connect it with the Israeli greetings of “hello” and “goodbye.” More than likely you think of “peace.” But this understanding of shalom doesn’t fully capture the meaning of the word in Hebrew. It is so much more than the absence of turbulence or war. Shalom is rooted in the Hebrew word shalem, which means “whole” or “complete.” True Shalom is the presence of wholeness, unity, and connection with our neighbors. It truly is the greatest blessing you can pray upon anyone else. The vision of shalom is that if we build unity in our homes and communities, the more we will see shalom in the world. If we reach out to people different from us — and learn from these differences — it can change the world. Are you ready for this spiritual challenge? Listen now!

Episode Notes:

Our podcast today, host Yael Eckstein focuses on these verses from Genesis 7:13-16:

“On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.”

As we’ll learn, Noah and all the animals on the ark had shalom because even with every type of animal — predator and prey — there was unity on the boat so that they could survive the Great Flood. All of Noah’s family and all the animals were united in one purpose, and this unity is what allowed them to survive.

In this episode, Yael will relate this biblical story and its message to the Jewish concept of shalom, as well as to our own lives. How often do we reach out a hand to someone we don’t agree with or to someone who is different from us? If we did this more often, do you think we could bring about peace, wholeness, and unity in our communities? Shalom is when we set aside their differences and see the good in each other, for the sake of a higher purpose — and in doing so we are able to achieve more than we ever could on our own.

As Yael will explain, it is this concept of unity between Christians and Jews that has made The Fellowship so successful. We come together as people of faith for the purpose of bringing the blessing of food, comfort, security, and other lifesaving assistance to God’s children in need. And that, in turn, is blessing the entire world. That is true peace. That is shalom.

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