The Talmud notes that Jews use a lunar calendar while the nations of the world make use of a solar one. The reason, says the Sfat Emet, is because the nations of the world accomplish certain goals and missions and then their sun sets. They rise and fall. Jews, on the other hand, are compared to the moon because even as tasks are accomplished, they are able to renew their sense of excitement and vigor, just as the moon that emerges anew even from perceived darkness.
Of course it is easier to remain within the confines of Yitzchok’s academies and neighborhoods, never having to confront the challenges and threats of Eiver’s needs. But the easy path has never been the path for the Torah Jew. It was not for Yaakov. It was not for Yosef. The easy path, the one that clings to comfort and security, leads to disaster. It leads not only to the disintegration of large numbers of the American Jewish community, but is also disabling many in our ostensibly well-secured kehillas.
When one attains the age of “seventeen,” after having been raised and nurtured by Yitzchaks and Yaakovs, and is willing to remain a perpetual na’ar, then it is time to throw open the tent flaps and enter the world. Frightening? Yes. Challenging? Without question. Worthwhile? Absolutely. To walk the path of Yaakov and Yosef is to realize benefits never-ending and rewards eternal.
Am Yisrael is waiting for you.