We run our lives to the beat of our own calendar. Passover comes along anywhere from early March to late April, while Rosh Hashanah swings widely between September and October. We're all over the shop and it's more that the average guy can do to just keep up with the times.

Seems like a bit of wasted effort doesn't it? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just hang with the locals and rule our lives by the common calendar? Rosh Hashanah would be regular, Passover would be punctual, we could schedule school holidays at the time suggested by the education department and there would be an absolute guarantee that the World Series and Yom Kippur don't clash.

People of the Moon

A Jewish life is ruled by the ebb and flow of the moonThe rest of the world operates on a solar cycle, with their lives and seasons dependant on the sun. The great big orb in the sky is the fair weather friend of the earth, regulating existence and warming us with its serene glow. As sure as the fact that the sun sets at night, we can be confident that our friend will rise again on the morrow, in the exact same location as the day before, at the same time.

A Jewish life is ruled by the ebb and flow of the moon. It waxes and it wanes, sometimes barely visible, at other times it hangs fat and indolent like a pie in the sky. Times of plenty are quickly succeeded by the poverty of persecution. No guarantees, no sense of permanence. Every day is different from the day before and we can never be positive what tomorrow will bring.

A society that lives by the sun will flourish during the good times, will enjoy success for so long as the balmy blessings of nature continue to shine. However, should anything interfere with their peaceful existence then they will have developed no resilience, no survival techniques to weather the occasional ice ages or periods of global warming.

If there is one thing that the broad sweep of Jewish history has demonstrated is that we have mastered the ability to adapt to changes in fortune. We have survived all dangers and outlived all storms. We have faith and trust in G‑d during the good times and continue to pray and believe even as instability threatens.

Each day is a new experience. We are mature enough to accept that the holidays we so enjoyed last year may be rescheduled and have to be celebrated under totally different expectations and conditions. We are the great survivors of life because of our capacity to roll with the punches and our refusal to allow any marginal event to distract us from our Divine mission.