Walls enclose, insulate, isolate. Walls cut you off from the world.

But a broken wall signifies danger. If it's holding back a river, water will come pouring in. If it's securing a border, enemies or aliens will infiltrate its breaches. A broken wall means vulnerability, exposure, loss of identity.

What, then, is it that we need? We need walls with gates in them.

We need strong walls, with gates that open and close. Gates that are open during the day and closed at night. Gates that open to allow people to pass in and out to exchange ideas and merchandise; gates that also close, to safeguard the city to keep out harmful and destructive forces.

How good it is if your city, your community, your family, you own body and your own soul, have strong walls with properly functioning gates, so that you are secure in your own identity, protective of what is best and most precious in yourself, and open to the world to give and receive, learn and teach.

On the 10th of Tevet of the Jewish year 3336 (425 BCE), the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia laid siege to the walls of Jerusalem, eventually breaching walls protecting the holy city, destroying the Holy Temple, and sending the Jewish people into exile.

Every year, we observe Tevet 10 as a day of fasting and repentance — a day devoted to safeguarding the walls of our identity, repairing its breaches, and making sure its gates are functioning properly....