Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Darkei Shalom

There are many things that we do for Darchai Shalom, most notably in some of our dealings with non-Jews. But what exactly is Darchai Shalom?

Often the term is used synonymously with mishum aivah. i.e. We visit their sick and bury their dead because if we didn't do that they would hate us. Darkai shalom = to prevent them from hating us.

I don't think this is the correct meaning. The Rambam in hilchos milachim says the following:

אפילו הגויים--ציוו חכמים לבקר חוליהם, ולקבור מתיהם עם מתי ישראל, ולפרנס ענייהם בכלל עניי ישראל, מפני דרכי שלום: הרי נאמר "טוב ה' לכול; ורחמיו על כל מעשיו" (תהילים קמה,ט), ונאמר "דרכיה דרכי נועם; וכל נתיבותיה שלום" (משלי ג,יז).

The Rambam brings the pasuk of טוב ה' לכול ורחמיו על כל מעשיו as a reason for DS. It seems clear to me that the Rambam held that we give charity and bury non-Jews because it is the way that a rachaman acts, and not for any ulterior motive.

Hattip: A wise and learned man