1 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. After he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to teach them by saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Sifre Numbers 42Halakhic Midrash
Great is peace, which was given to the lovers of Torah, viz. (Psalms 119:165) "Peace in abundance for the lovers of Your Torah." Great is peace, which was given to the humble, viz. (Ibid. 37:11) "and the humble will inherit the land and rejoice in an abundance of peace." Great is peace, which was given to the learners of Torah, viz. (Isaiah 59:13) "And all your children will be (as if) taught by the L-rd, and (there will be) an abundance of peace (among) your children." Great is peace, which is given to the doers of righteousness, viz. (Ibid. 32:7) "And the reward of righteousness will be peace." Great is peace, for the name of the Holy One Blessed be He is "Peace," viz. (Judges 6:24) "and he called it (the altar) 'the L-rd is Peace.'" R. Chanina, the adjutant high-priest says: Great is peace, which is over and against the entire creation, as it is written "who makes peace … and creates all" (viz. Isaiah 45:7). Great is peace, which is needed (even) by the celestial creations, viz. (Job 25:22) "Governance and fear is with Him: He makes peace in His heights." Now does this not follow a fortiori, viz.: If in a place where there is no enmity, or rivalry, or hatred, or hostility, peace is needed — how much more so, in a place where all of these obtain!
Notes and References
"... Thoughtful people throughout the ancient Mediterranean world gave great attention to [pathos] because they recognized that the emotions were inextricably linked to proper conduct. From both a theoretical and a practical standpoint, to speak of virtue without giving due attention to the emotions was as impossible as it was inconceivable ... In his Rhetoric, Aristotle affirms that “becoming angry is the opposite of becoming mild, and anger of mildness,” and he defines “making mild as the quieting and appeasing of anger” (Rhetoric 2.3.1–2). Centuries later, Ignatius of Antioch was still making that same inverse correlation between anger and mildness, advising the Christ-believers in Ephesus to “be mild in the face of their [adversaries’] angry outbursts” (Epistle to the Ephesians 10.2). From this perspective, the discussion of anger in Matthew 5:21-22 should be viewed as thematically picking up the beatitude of Matthew 5:5, (“Blessed are the meek”). As is well known, that beatitude is formed on the basis of Psalm 37:11 and its promise that “the meek will inherit the earth.” ..."
Fitzgerald, John T. "Anger, Reconciliation, and Friendship in Matthew 5:21-26" in Bond, Helen K. (ed.) Israel's God and Rebecca's Children: Christology and Community in Early Judaism and Christianity (pp. 359-370) Baylor University Press, 2007
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