Parshat Pinchas begins with Hashem rewarding Pinchas for his act of bravery. Pinchas is given a Brit Shalom, a covenant of peace. Many meforshim note the conveyance of a covenant of peace being awarded to man who engaged in such a violent act. The lesson being that we sometimes have to overcome our natural inclinations in order to accomplish the task at hand, and then focus back on our values.
In the Torah scroll, the letter vav of the word “Shalom” is cracked. Rav Zevin explained that the cracked vav allows us to think about the similarities and differences between the words “Shalom”, peace, and Shalem, whole. Both indicate a fulfilled state of being. However Shalem refers to an individual whereas Shalom refers to the relationship between two or more objects or people.
The broken Vav highlights the difficulties that can exist in trying to get along with others and achieve Shalom. It is often easier to achieve Shalemiut for oneself. But true personal fulfillment must include peace between ourselves and those around us: family, friends, and neighbors. There can be no real Sheleimut without Shalom. And the broken Vav in Shalom reminds us just how elusive, yet essential, peace can be.