Ways of Peace: Dealing with the Other
Mishna Gitin 59b
These are the things that are taught because they are the ways of
peace. The Kohen reads the first portion and after him the Levite
reads and after him the Israelite reads because of ways of peace.
(Originally, people were called up arbitrarily to be one of the seven
who bless a section of the weekly Torah
portion. For the sake of "ways of peace" this ruling was
We make an eruv at the old house (the first house where it was done]
because of ways of peace.
(There is a prohibition against carrying from a private domain to a
public one on Shabbat.
In a semi-private courtyard shared by two or more neighbors, a
symbolic gesture was made to demonstrate that the courtyard could be
used as an extension of one's private domain. This was done by
placing a loaf of bread at one persons home. This ruling says that
one must not switch the home where the loaf is placed, but it must be
the one that is always used.)
The person closest to the cistern that is filled from the aqueduct
gets to fill his jug first because of ways of peace.
Traps of wild animals, fowl and fish [if taken] can be considered
stolen because of ways of peace. Rabbi Yossi says, "It is to be
considered stolen on its own" [without using ways of peace for a
(Because traps may be placed on land which is considered ownerless,
there is a question of whether once an animal is trapped if the
trapper has legitimately acquired it since he has yet to claim it
with his own hand, or have it brought it into his own domain which is
a necessary criterion for claiming ownership.) Rabbi Yossi claims
there is no need for a decree because it is already considered
The findings of a deaf person, a mentally challenged, or a minor [if
taken] are considered to be stolen because of ways of peace.
(The people listed in this case are not considered to be legally
aware to make acquisitions, therefore there is a question whether
robbing them of something they have found is technically considered
Rabbi Yossi says, "It is considered stolen on its own." The
poor person who cuts the olive tree top that which falls [on the
ground] below is considered to be stolen because of ways of peace.
Rabbi Yossi said, "It is to be considered stolen on its
(The poor person is entitled to "the corner " of the tree
top, what happens if some branches fall from his hand and fall on the
ground? Are they considered to be the property of that person or are
they available for another poor person to claim?) One doesn't prevent
the gentile poor from taking Leket, Shikcha, and Peah [agrarian
tributes designated by the Torah for the Jewish poor.] because of
ways of peace.
Your Talmud Navigator
1. Go through all the statements and see what they
have in common.
2. Are there any items that do not seem to belong in this list?
3. What is the legal status of these statements? In other words, why
is the reason "ways of peace" given? Why do they not say
that such activity is forbidden or prohibited and leave it at that?
The Rabbis taught: One sustains the gentile poor with the Jewish
poor, visits the gentile sick with the Jewish sick, and buries the
gentile dead with the Jewish dead, because of ways of peace.
Your Talmud Navigator
What is the difference between the statement above
and, "One doesn't prevent the gentile poor from taking Leket,
Shikcha, and Peah [agrarian tributes designated by the Torah for the
poor.] because of ways of peace."
How does the Talmud
teach us to deal with "the other" in these statements.
Why doesn't the Talmud say that these, too, are cases of Tikkun Olam
(healing the world)? What could be the difference between Darchei
Shalom (Ways of peace) and TIkkun Olam?
Source: Rabbi Avi Weinstein, Director, Hillel's
Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning. Reprinted with