As the days and hours pass, we are nearing one of the scariest and most difficult periods in the history of the State of Israel. Within weeks, Jewish soldiers may be ordered to forcefully evacuate their brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandparents and grandchildren from the homes in Gush Katif and other parts of the Land of Israel where these Jews have lived for generations. These young soldiers, barely more than children themselves, will come face to face with fellow Jews in a confrontation in which both sides are unrelenting in their mission and determination. It is too painful to contemplate what the results could be. I rather choose to think about what change is necessary to tackle the root of the problem.

It is interesting to note that in English, "peace" (as in getting along) and "piece" (as in breaking a whole into smaller parts) are homonyms Of course, all this is being done in the name of peace. The world is demanding peace. Israel is screaming for peace. The only people who don't seem to be so concerned with peace are the very people with whom we are trying to achieve it.... Yet what is peace?

The world chooses to define "peace" as synonymous with compromise. It is interesting to note that in English, "peace" (as in getting along) and "piece" (as in breaking a whole into smaller parts) are homonyms. In Hebrew, however, the word for peace is shalom, from the root shalem, "wholeness." In the language of the Torah, if there is wholeness, then there is peace. The two go together. We do not achieve peace through division and fragmentation, but rather through completeness.

Our sages teach that there are three states of wholeness that we must always strive for: wholeness of the Jewish People, wholeness of the Torah and wholeness of the Land of Israel. If even one of the three is not complete, then the others will also suffer. True peace will only be accomplished when we have wholeness of the three.

Wholeness of the People

The Torah describes the people of Israel as ish echad b'lev echad---"one person with one heart." This means that we must not only think about the other, but feel for the other. We cannot view ourselves as separate entities, but must realize that each and every Jew is a vital part of the wholeness of the Jewish people.

The Jewish people are seen as one body. Just as a body is comprised of various limbs, muscles and organs, so, too, are the Jewish people comprised of millions of individual men, women and children, each of whom is needed to contribute to the communal whole the unique abilities, talents and personality that he or she has been blessed with. Because we are one body, when even the smallest part of our body is in pain, the entire body suffers: a tiny splinter in our little toe can distract our overall attention so much that it is as if the splinter is more important than our ability to walk, run, eat, think and function.

This is the meaning of love: that what is important and meaningful to one of us is respected and felt by the other. Each and every Jew shares a bond and connection that may, at times, be very deeply concealed—but that is precisely why it hurts so much. Worse than outright anger between those who should be close is when one or both parties are totally apathetic. If we argue and fight, at least it shows that we care. If we are cold, then we are so distant that nothing moves us. We have reached a low in which we don't even realize that we are all one family. More so, we have bought into the media's belief that we are really enemies amongst ourselves.

Recently we celebrated the holiday of Shavuot, the day on which all the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai and received the Torah. We learn that it was not only our ancestors who were present—every single man, woman and child, including newborn babies, of that generation—but also the soul of each and every single Jew, of every generation of history. Our sages go so far as to say that if a single Jewish soul had been absent from Sinai, G‑d could not have chosen us as His people and given us the Torah. We could not have become the "People of Israel."

Wholeness of the Torah

In the same way the Jewish people need to be shalem, whole and complete, so, too, does our Torah. The Torah is not an Encyclopedia that can be picked through and taken in pieces. It is a scroll, the circle that encompasses our lives, and each and every letter within it must be complete, for truth is only truth in its wholeness.

On the most physical level, if even one single letter in a Torah scroll is missing, damaged or incomplete, the entire Torah is invalid. It cannot be read from or used in any way. Likewise, Maimonides counts as one of the thirteen foundations of Judaism the principle that to deny the truth and divinity of even a single word of Torah denies the entirety of Torah. For denying even one part of Torah denies the truth of its wholeness.

Thus we are taught that each Jew is represented by a letter in the Torah. In other words, the wholeness of the Jewish people and the wholeness of the Torah are intertwined. Every Jew is integral to the wholeness of the Torah, and our commitment to Torah is how we achieve wholeness as a people.

Wholeness of the Land of Israel

Once we recognize the completeness of the Torah and the completeness of the Jewish people—only then can we value the idea of the wholeness of the Land of Israel.

The Torah teaches us that each and every Jew possesses a portion of the Land of Israel and is forever connected to the land, regardless of where he or she is living. For the Land of Israel is G‑d's eternal gift to the Jewish people. It is integral to our divine mission as the place imbued with the holiness and special spiritual qualities that empower us to flourish as a people and serve as G‑d's light unto the nations.

Ultimately, this is our only true claim to the Land of Israel. The land is not ours because Lord Balfour so declared in 1917 or because the UN so voted in 1947; it's not even ours because we lived there for thousands of years or because we "deserved" a homeland after the Holocaust. These may all be valid arguments, but others can present counter-arguments to them. The Land of Israel is ours because the Creator declared in his Torah that the Land of Israel is the eternal inheritance of the people of Israel.

Every square foot of the land is integral to its wholeness, as is every letter to the wholeness of the Torah and every Jew to the wholeness of the Jewish people Every square foot of the land is integral to its wholeness, as every letter is integral to the wholeness of the Torah and every individual Jew is integral to the wholeness of the Jewish people.

True Peace

Yes, the path to peace requires compromise. When we find ourselves in discord with others, we must be prepared to reexamine our behavior, our desires and our preconceptions, as well as our perspective of ourselves and others. For all discord is based on falsehood and fragmentation—the opposite of shalom, wholeness and peace. So we must be willing to ask ourselves: where have we gone wrong? How have we damaged the wholeness upon which peace is dependent? We must be willing to relinquish the false attitudes and behaviors that have become entrenched in us—so entrenched that we call them true and convince ourselves that they are.

To achieve peace, we must first know the truth of who we are and what we believe. In this, the Torah is our guide: it is what has kept us together as a people and ensured our survival for thirty-three tumultuous centuries; it is what gives us the knowledge of what is true and the strength to pursue that truth. And as Jews, it is our responsibility to make the truth of the Torah accessible, understandable and beautiful to the world.

The path to true peace must be predicated on truth; when we discuss giving away parts of the Land of Israel, we deny truth, precluding any chance of peace This is the path to true peace: peace predicated on truth. When we will have the courage to unabashedly proclaim the Torah's truth to the world—that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and that we, as Jews, have neither the authority nor the ability to reject the Divine gift—then there will be peace; peace amongst us and peace with our enemies. For every human being was created by the same G‑d, and therefore, on the most essential level, every single human being ultimately desires truth, and when presented with the truth, will respect it and accept it.

On the other hand, peace that is predicated on falsehood, peace that is predicated on compromise of the truth, can never be a true peace. For something that is false is never whole, and peace only comes from wholeness.

When we discuss giving away parts of the Land of Israel, G‑d forbid, we deny our own truth, undermining the wholeness and integrity that is the only source of true peace. Not only do we show that we don't value what we were given, but even more so, that we don't value or respect the Giver and the purpose for which He gave us the gift. It should therefore come as no surprise that if we have no sense of responsibility to our Creator and our mission in life, the next step is to have no value of another's life, which is how it becomes possible to make decisions that will clearly result in the deaths of countless innocent victims.

Learning from our Enemies

We are so desperate for the euphoric idea of peace that we are willing to sacrifice human life in order to achieve that end. Thus we have the absurdity of a "peace" that is the very opposite of peace. From every perspective—from historical, geographical, economical, and military points of view—giving away land is disastrous for the security of Israel. We are dealing with an enemy who has time and time again made it very clear that they do not want part of our land, they want all of our land, and that they will keeping fighting us until they get it all, G‑d forbid.

In terms of security, it is clear that when land is given away, the result is an increase in attacks and terrorism. When giving our enemy this vantage point, we not only provide them with the physical and geographical ability to better attack us, but most importantly, we show that we are weak, that we are scared, that we are desperate. Willingness to hand land to one's enemy is the proof that we do not feel capable of protecting it, and do not find it valuable enough to fight for.

We need not search too far back in history for the prototype of such a delusional "peace": a scant twelve years ago the government of Israel entered into the Oslo "Peace Process" and began implementing it by installing and arming the PLO as a "Palestinian Authority" within the Land of Israel, resulting in thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries of Jews by terrorists, and even more casualties and suffering among the Arabs.

Throughout history, it has been our enemies who have taught us what it is we need to value Throughout history, it has been our enemies who have taught us what it is we need to value. When we tried to assimilate in Spain, the Inquisition made it clear that no matter how much we tried to act, look and behave like a Spaniard, a Jew was a Jew was a Jew. Hundreds of years later, when Hitler came to power in Germany, he didn't care if someone felt Jewish, if they looked Jewish, if they lived a Jewish life. If there was any trace of Jewish blood, that was all that counted. In a sick, twisted and morbid irony, he showed the world that what exists in a Jew is something innate and unchangeable. And now, as the Arabs terrorize the world, bombing buses and pizzerias and shooting babies at point blank range, we blindly offer to give and give and give, hoping that it will be enough to satisfy their bloodthirsty desires.

But while we foolishly fall for the media's and politician's promises, our enemies have never changed their story. Until they have driven all the Jews into the sea and have conquered the Land of Israel in its entirety, they will not rest. At the rate we are going, they won't need to, since we seem to be all too willing to do it ourselves.

The Wisdom of Solomon

The Book of Kings relates how shortly after King Solomon was crowned king of Israel, G‑d appeared to him in a dream and asked: what do you desire? wealth? power? fame? Solomon asked for one thing only: wisdom.

The next morning, two women appeared before him. There was a beautiful baby boy, and each claimed be the mother of this child. It was clear that there was only one mother, but it seemed impossible to know which woman was telling the truth.

King Solomon issued his ruling: "Bring forth a sword; we will cut the baby in two, and each woman will receive one half."

Immediately upon hearing this, one of the women began crying and screaming that the other woman could have the baby, just as long as the baby is not hurt in any way. The other woman stood by impassively. "Give her the child," said King Solomon, pointing to the first woman. "She is the true mother."

One of the greatest symptoms of our dark exile is not just that the Jewish people are willing to let the land of Israel be divided. Perhaps even more distressing is that we have forgotten that we are the true mother.

It is time for us to give up the falsehoods of exile, and pursue the true path of "land for peace"--a whole and integral land, people and Torah, as the key for a true, eternal peace.