Seeking Out Peace

In Devarim 2:26 we see that Moshe sent out messengers to Sichon, King of Cheshbon with words of peace.


Why did Moshe try to make peace after God already told him in sentence 24 “Behold I have given into your hand Sichon the Emorite, King of Cheshbon and his land: begin to possess it and contend with him in battle.”


According to Midrash Tanchuma on Parshat Chukat, it says in Tehilim 34:15 “Sur Me’Ra V’Aseh Tov Bakesh ShalomV’Rodfehu”, “Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”


Usually, if a mitzvah comes our way then we are obligated to perform it. For example: “If a bird’s nest chance to be before you in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones or eggs and the mother bird sitting upon her young or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother bird together with the young: but you shall surely let the mother go and take the young to you, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days (Devarim 21:6-7).”


Another example of a mitzvah coming our way would be “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again (Shmot 23:4).”


A third example would be “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless and for the widow: that HaShem your God may bless you in all of the work of your hands (Devarim 24:19).”


Peace is the only mitzvah that we are actually commanded to pursue. We are told to seek peace and pursue it.


Although God told B’nai Yirael that they could fight the Emorites, first they tried to seek peace. It was only after the Emorites refused to make peace that B’nai Yisrael went into battle.


Today as well, the Israeli’s go out of their way to seek peace and pursue it as much as possible. However, true peace will not come at the cost of the safety of Israeli civilians and soldiers. Our safety cannot be compromised in the pursuit of peace.