Arguments and quarrels are ubiquitous in human nature, but also destructive and corrosive.  Our Gemara on Amud Aleph tells us:

A person should always cling to three things and distance himself from three things. He should cling to three things: To ḥalitza rather than levirate marriage, to bringing about peace, and to the nullification of vows. And he should distance himself from three things: From refusal (miyun performed to nullify certain marriages made by a minor); and from accepting deposits, as he is then responsible for them; and from serving as a guarantor..

There is a problem with this list, as the three things one is supposed to run after ought to comprise a list of what one might intuitively think he should distance himself from.  Running after the other two items, annulling vows and chalitzah are not obvious.   One might think Yibum is the preferred mitzvah, and likewise one might think that keeping the vow is the better option, therefore this teaching comes to enlighten us about a different priority.  However, how does bringing about peace fit this list?  What could be wrong with trying to bring about peace?

I submit that when we are in contentious quarrels, we are good at coming up with excellent rationalizations for why we must stick to our guns and hold our ground.  Justifications such as, “it’s about the principle of the thing”, “I cannot be a doormat”, and “this person needs to learn a lesson” are frequently utilized.  This teaching is telling us to drop this silly song and dance, and make peace anyhow.

Along these lines, Rav Tzvi Hersch Koidenover (1655-1712, Sefer Kav HaYashar 15:1) comments on a well-known verse that comes up in liturgy (Iyov 25:2):

עֹשֶׂ֥ה שָׁ֝ל֗וֹם בִּמְרוֹמָֽיו

He imposes peace in His heights

This verse implies that Hashem needs to make peace among the angels.  And if peace is needed among the angels, who have no evil inclination and who are free of jealousy and hatred, how much more is it needed between man and his neighbor, between the minority and majority, whom the Satan is perpetually goading into discord and quarreling?

Apparently, there are deep and cosmic forces that promote lack of harmony and are involved in disputation all the way up the spiritual chain of command, yet God still works to make peace.  I suppose if these epic forces are made secondary to the goal of peace, we must make our petty considerations subordinate as well.



Translations Courtesy of Sefaria, (except when, sometimes, I disagree with the translation cool.)