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    Two Roads
    Two roads diverged in the long voyage of
    our people. There were “Solar Jews” and
    “Lunar Jews.”
    There were always the people whose
    primary focus has been on holding on
    tenaciously to the past, with little or no
    change. Just because Voltaire gave us
    Enlightenment, Nietzsche taught us about
    the Will for Power, Tocqueville explained
    to us democracy, Freud discovered the
    subconscious, and America is changing by
    the day, this group argues, our core
    values—what makes us human and
    Jewish—still do not undergo change.
    Learn from the sun, they say. It has been
    doing the same thing for millennia and is
    still cast its light and warmth effectively.
    In contrast, the lunar Jews focus on the
    constant changes in history: The fluctuating
    trends, the cultural developments, the
    novel inventions, the technological
    revolutions, and the newly discovered
    wisdom. These Jews allow their ears to
    absorb the sounds of progression and the
    alterations in the climate. They aspire to
    define a Judaism—or a philosophy of
    life—that would be relevant to the
    contemporary conversation of humanity in
    its journey toward progress. “Learn from
    the moon,” they exclaim. Every day it is
    different. It waxes, it wanes; it even
    disappears once in a while. It forever
    assumes diverse shapes.
    Often, they mocked their elders who were
    unchangeable. Their lunar anthem was
    Rooted in the tombs of yesterday
    Growing, thriving toward the sky.
    Not satisfied with answers carved in clay
    Give us new life or we will die.
    In some ways, it was this perspective that
    gave birth to the contemporary Jewish
    world. As the winds of modernity swept
    Europe, as Enlightenment and
    Emancipation cast their glow on a
    downtrodden nation, millions of Jews felt
    that clinging to the lifestyle and traditions
    of their ancestors would impede their
    bright journey to a new world order. In the
    process, they bid farewell to the old to
    embrace the new; they said goodbye to the

    yore to embrace the “your.”
    Then came the Holocaust and changed
    everything. A shattered people observed in
    unfathomable horror how the most
    enlightened European nation with the most
    PhDs, the crown jewel of the sciences and

    arts, was capable of sending one-and-a-
    half million children into gas chambers,

    with no qualms. As our nation struggled to
    regain its bearings and rebuild, confusion
    The solar Jews focused on the fact that if
    you are not anchored in absolute values,
    traditions, and faith, you may forfeit
    continuity. In your passion to remain
    relevant today, you may forfeit the wisdom
    of yesteryear. In your ambition to grow
    tall, you can’t detach from the roots that
    keep you alive.
    “By the time a man realizes that maybe his
    father was right, he usually has a son who
    thinks he’s wrong,” Charles Wadsworth
    once said.
    The lunar Jews accuse solar Jews of
    monotony and dogma, stifling the new
    energy of today. In their hope to continue
    the chain of history by adding their
    identically matching link, they fail to leave
    room for creativity and self-expression.
    Two Approaches to Business
    Often, the conflict between the lunar and
    solar personalities emerges in a company, a
    business, or an organization.
    The CEO, David, is adventurous, creative,
    courageous, and fearless of risks. He feels
    that the company has to embrace a new
    model to bring it over the top, though it has
    not done things this way since its inception.
    Yet the senior Vice President, Henry,
    adheres to a different code: Conservative
    approaches and investments, calculated
    growth strategies, continuing the models of
    yesterday which proved successful.
    At a board meeting trying to reconcile
    between the two, strong words are hurled:
    The VP accuses the CEO, thirty years
    younger than him, of being volatile and
    impetuous. “This young know-it-all
    arrogant leader will take a successful
    company, earning its fixed annual revenue,
    and run it into the ground because of his
    irresponsible and youthful decisions.” The
    CEO does not remain silent. “Henry is an
    old man. He moves with the speed of a
    turtle. His consistency and regularity have
    led us to paralysis, stagnation, and
    deadness. With him at the helm, we will
    become irrelevant.”

    Two Spouses
    Often the dichotomy flares up in a
    She is spontaneous, fun-loving,
    bursting with ever-changing
    moods and emotions. Occasionally,
    her luminous personality shines
    like the full moon; equally
    frequent, however, are periods of
    sadness and inner struggle. She
    waxes and wanes. And sometimes
    she wants to disappear from the
    world for two days, just like the
    He is solid, dependable, consistent, as
    regular as tomorrow’s sunrise. When he
    has a flight, he packs two days before and
    shows up at the airport 3 and-a-half hours
    before his flight. He has been leaving the
    house at the same minute—8:19 AM—for
    the past 36 years to catch the 8:30 train. At
    work, he’s efficient, productive, and a
    stalwart upholder of company policy. He
    has not been late to an appointment since
    the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even the Landing
    on the Moon did not excite him enough to
    stay up later than usual. After all, he is a
    sun… He goes to bed, with one book on his
    night table, because he never picks up a
    second book before he finished reading the
    first. That, in his mind, is frivolous and
    irresponsible… (His wife, on the other
    hand, goes to bed with six books, so that
    when she gets bored of the first book—
    usually after three pages—she can pick up
    the second book.)
    Or sometimes (maybe more often) it is the
    other way around. She is made of steel.
    She is solid, reliable, dependable. He is
    moody and unstable. He may be an “artist,”
    but he’s out for lunch. And lunch never
    ends with him. Either way, as can be
    expected, theirs is not an easy marriage.
    Who Prevails?
    Each of us tends to deal with this conflict
    differently. But the common denominator
    for most is that we try to overemphasize
    one of the two approaches so that we can
    form some sense of identity. Sometimes as
    a society we give one approach exclusive
    power when the other has dominated our
    attention for a long time. It becomes a
    pendulum swing from one extreme to
    another: Embracing art and creativity until
    we’ve totally lost all sense of moral truth,
    and then giving total control to discipline
    and dogma until there is no distinguishable
    personality left in us.
    Judaism, in its profound understanding of
    human nature and the process of history,

    challenges us to embark on the road less
    Two Calendars
    There are two types of calendars used by
    most civilizations today: the Western
    calendar and the Muslim calendar. The
    Western calendar follows the solar cycle,
    while the Muslim calendar follows the
    lunar cycle. The primary features of both
    calendars are the month and the year. Yet
    their duration can be calculated through
    either the sun or the moon.
    Let us go on a little journey through these
    two calendars.
    The solar orbit (the orbit of the sun around
    the earth, or of the earth around the sun) is
    completed every 365 days. That makes for
    a year. If you divide these 365 days into 12
    sections, you get approximately 30 days in
    each. This makes up the months.
    This is how the Western calendar works.
    The months are not defined by the
    completion of any particular orbit; they are
    an artificial creation, a product of the mind
    dividing the solar orbit into 12 sections.
    The lunar orbit (the apparent orbit of the
    moon around the earth, or the earth around
    the moon) is completed every 29 1/2 days,
    12 times as fast as the sun. That makes for
    a month. Now, when you multiply the
    lunar month—29 or 30 days—12 times,
    you have a year.
    Such a year, comprised of 12 lunar months,
    adds up to 354 days, 11 days shorter than a
    solar year of 365 days. When a new lunar
    year begins (the beginning of the 13th
    month), the solar year has not yet finished
    its previous year and orbit.
    This is how the Muslim calendar works. As
    with the months in the Western calendar,
    the years in the Muslim calendar are not
    defined by an objective astronomical
    reality but are a creation of the human
    mind multiplying the moon’s orbit 12
    This is why Ramadan—the ninth month of
    the Islamic calendar, which is the Islamic
    This article was taken with permission from www.TheYeshiva.net. The author of the article is one of the most sought after speakers in the Jewish world today.

    To subscribe to Rabbi YY Jacobson’s weekly essays or watch his classes, please visit www.theyeshiva.net.


    By: Rabbi Y.Y.

    month of fasting, in
    which participating
    Muslims refrain from
    eating, drinking, and
    intimate relations for
    the entire month
    from dawn until
    sunset—can fall out either in winter or
    summer, or any other season. Sometimes
    Ramadan is in hot August, and sometimes
    in cold February (in 2022 it will begin on
    April 2 through May 2). Why? Because the
    Muslim calendar, unlike the Western
    calendar, has nothing to do with the sun
    and its seasons. It completely revolves
    around the moon.
    The Problem
    As long as you don’t mix the two calendars,
    you’re fine. But this is where the Jews
    came in and generated confusion. The
    Jewish calendar is unique in that it
    integrates these two very different cycles
    of time—the solar and the lunar—into a
    harmonious system.
    The very first mitzvah given to the Jewish
    people—even before their Exodus from

    Egypt—specified the formula by which to
    set the cycles of Jewish time, and it gave
    birth to the most complex calendar ever
    The Torah specifies that Jewish months
    need to be established by the lunar orbit.
    Simple enough. Yet the Torah also instructs
    the Jewish people to celebrate their
    holidays (observed on certain days of the
    lunar month) during specific solar seasons.
    For example, the holiday of Passover,
    beginning on the 15th day of the lunar
    month of Nissan, must also be the spring
    season (a product of the solar cycle).
    Now, if the lunar and solar year had
    enjoyed an identical number of days, this
    system would work perfectly: The lunar
    and solar months would travel together
    side by side. But since the lunar year is 354
    days, and the solar year is 365 days, each
    passing year creates a discrepancy of 11
    days between the two cycles. In the course
    of 10 years, the lunar year falls behind the
    solar year some 110 days. The result of this
    would be that Passover, celebrated in the
    lunar month of Nissan, would eventually
    end up in the winter.

    The Solution
    To confront this problem, the Jewish
    calendar introduced the “leap year.” Every
    few years, a 13th month consisting of 30
    days is added to the lunar year. This way
    the “lunar year” catches up to the “solar
    year.” This is done approximately every
    three years when the discrepancy between
    the lunar and solar year reaches 33 days.
    The added month synchronizes them, more
    or less.
    Now, this year in the Jewish calendar,
    5782, is one of those leap years. And the
    Hebrew month in which we presently find
    ourselves, Adar 1, is exactly such a type of
    month—an additional 13th month added to
    our lunar year. The additional month is
    always added to the month of Adar,
    ensuring that the following month, Nissan,
    the month of Passover, is in spring, since
    the lunar year has now “caught” up to the
    solar year.
    So in summation, the Jewish people
    calculate their time according to both the
    moon and the sun. Our months are the
    moons; our years are the suns. To ensure
    that our lunar months keep pace with the
    solar year, we are constantly attempting
    to have the moon overcome its 11-day
    void and catch up to the sun’s year.
    Why the Headache?
    But why the need for such headaches?
    If the Torah wants us to synchronize
    our months and years with the solar
    seasons, let it establish a solar calendar
    to begin with! Why the need to follow a
    lunar system and then try to make up
    for its flaws, shortcomings, and
    The answer to this enigma is that in
    Judaism we measure and calculate our
    days the same way in which we
    measure and calculate our inner lives.
    We define time in the same way that we
    define our mission in life. And our
    mission in life is not to become either
    lunar or solar, but to integrate them.
    Sure, the synthesis of two celestial
    beings which possess differing patterns
    is never easy; it always requires tuning,
    fine-tuning, checks and balances,
    adjustments, vigilance, humility, and
    the readiness to challenge ourselves.
    But any other way would be neglecting
    a vital component of our design and of
    our objective in life.
    To run from your spouse because they
    are so different is short-sided. Sure, to
    synchronize two personalities is not
    always a smooth journey, especially

    when one is a sun and the other—a moon.
    Yet it is in this attempt to bring together
    two orbits in which we can fully realize our
    inner potential and become the people we
    were meant to become.
    Truth can never be captured via the moon
    or the sun on their own. We ought to utilize
    our innovative ability to its fullest, and yet,

    for our creativity to be productive and life-
    affirming, we must have a structure in

    which to operate. If I forfeit that structure
    in the name of liberty and self-expression,
    it would be akin to water escaping the
    “boundaries” of the pot in order to come
    into direct contact with the fire beneath the
    pot. The results? No fire left.
    To lose touch with time-tested values of
    the past in the name of creativity is akin to
    playing a football game on a massive roof
    of a tall building, lacking a firm fence.
    Instead of enjoying a thrilling game, we
    become too timid to play, because we
    know how dangerous it is, or conversely,
    we become reckless. The best thing we can
    do is to construct a fence, and then we can
    enjoy an awesome game.
    Let’s take the marital structure. Some may
    argue for completer lunar passion and
    romance, without the limitations imposed
    by the “solar” stable commitment to one
    person with no red lines crossed. The
    marriage-without boundaries may sound
    exciting, but the results are well known: It
    undermines rather than enhances the love
    and trust between a husband and wife, and
    the person often ends up with nothing.
    We love the moon. We must be fresh,
    creative, passionate, and explore and
    actualize all of our individual resources.
    We ought to celebrate the new and the
    creative. But the leap year teaches us, that
    our inner moon—our inner lunacy—must,
    once every few years, be synchronized
    with our inner sun. We need to anchor our
    spiritedness in time-tested values to define
    what is right and what is wrong. Our
    creativity blossoms best on the soil of
    commitment and tradition. The structures
    of morality and the laws of the Torah are
    similar to the laws of biology. If in my
    attempt for creativity I ignore the intricate
    “laws” that govern my organism, I will end
    up damaging myself.
    You can’t ignore the rhythm of the soul.
    Only in the struggle to synthesize the sun
    and the moon, can the full capacity and
    majesty of the human being be expressed.