“Which is more important, the sun or the moon?” a citizen of Chelm asked the town Rabbi.
“What a silly question!” exclaimed the Rabbi.
“The moon, of course! It shines at night when we really need it. But who needs the sun to shine when it is already broad daylight?”
There are moments in life when we question our Jewishness: how Jewish am I? Are there varying degrees? What does being Jewish mean?
I believe that this question is answered for us when, unfortunately, we find ourselves experiencing the dark moments in life. When we undergo tragedy, there’s a special kinship – a unique sense of brotherhood – that emerges between us. It is then that we feel more Jewish than ever before; it is then that we truly appreciate our fellow Jews simply for who they are.
Indeed, when our true identity shines, all the questions fall away.
Granted, as the Rabbi of Chelm put it, the moon shines at night when we really need it: when we’re thrust into the darkness and so desperate for support and meaning in life, the value of every Jew suddenly comes to light. But that illumination ought to be cherished in the good times, too.
So let’s not wait for hard times to bring our Jewish connection to the fore.
This year, let’s awaken our identity and our unity when the sun shines; let’s reveal the key to who we are (Torah & Mitzvot) at every moment!