Photo Credit: Jewish Press
Keshet Starr

It’s the oldest battle in the book – the sacred vs. profane. Judaism, like many religious traditions, struggles with this tension, questioning how we can live holy and aspirational lives while also bogged down with the stuff of day-to-day existence (think: all that laundry).

One solution? A moed. Unlike a regular old weekday, a moed is festive, special. Moadim are set apart from the rest of the calendar, and their structure sets us apart, too; for the days of a holiday we are removed from our everyday responsibilities. Without the constant tasks that keep us busy and distracted (and this was true even before smartphones!), a moed gives us space to connect, to think, to dream.


But what does this have to do with holiness? In leadership literature, we talk about being “on the dance floor” or “on the balcony.” The message is that sometimes you need to step away from the granular work to see the bigger vision, to notice what is and isn’t working.

Moadim offer a parallel approach. We live our lives on the dance floor, and that’s okay – we are here to learn, to do, to give. But the opportunity moadim provide to go up to the balcony helps us recalibrate when needed, and notice the things that have crept up on us. With the space and clarity to think, we can then return to live the most meaningful lives possible. Moadim l’simcha!

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Keshet Starr, Esq., is the CEO of the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA). She has written for many publications and is a Wexner Field Fellow. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Keshet lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.