Parashat Bechukotai presents shalom as one of the greatest rewards that we will receive when we live lives dedicated to Hashem’s holy Torah:
“And I will grant peace in the Land, and you will lie down with no one to frighten [you] … and no army will pass through your land” (Vayikra 26:6). Significantly, this statement is preceded by these pasukim:
“If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them, I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit. Your threshing will last until the vintage, and the vintage will last until the sowing; you will eat your food to satiety, and you will live in security in your land.” (26:3-5)
In a real sense, this passage serves as a preamble to our pasuk, with its focus on the promise of a robust physical existence in our Promised Land. As such, it emphasizes ample rain, bountiful produce, abundant fruit, vast quantities of grain, great amounts of wine, and “food to satiety.” At the same time, however, the phrase, “and you will live in security in your land,” seems to be almost an afterthought. Therefore, the Torah utilizes our pasuk, “And I will grant peace in the Land, and you will lie down with no one to frighten [you] … and no army will pass through your land,” to underscore the importance of peace in our land. Rashi, basing himself on both the Talmud and Midrash, expands upon this idea in the following fashion:
“And I will grant peace: You might say, ‘Here is food, and here is drink, but if there is no peace, there is nothing!’ Scripture, therefore, states, after all this [blessing], ‘I will grant peace in the Land.’ From here, [we learn] that peace is equal to everything else. And so, [too, this is illustrated in our morning prayers,] when we say: “[Blessed are You, O L-rd…] Who … makes peace and creates everything” (Yeshiyahu 45:7).
Rashi is teaching us that all the bounty of the world is as naught without shalom, since “it is equal to everything else.” Little wonder, then, that the word, shalom is found over a dozen times in the Five Books of the Torah, and many hundreds of times in the works of our Sages.