One word more than any other seems to be pervading our lives. It keeps on coming up in conversation especially with the young. The word captures a condition. The word is “uncertainty”.
As we face the day or week ahead of us we are becoming more afraid to take positions. Conventional norms cannot be relied upon. Both in politics and economics events are happening which very few people would have dared to predict.
Beneath the surface of many confident, successful and happy young man and women lies an individual who is acutely afraid. Engulfed by uncertainty as to their career paths and job security they are becoming ever more cautious about entering meaningful relationships.
As Jews this condition of uncertainty is further exacerbated by anti-Semitism in this country, Europe and beyond.
Our challenge today is how to deal with uncertainty. Even more pressing is the question, how to inspire our children to be optimistic about the future when we ourselves have serious doubts.
Without zooming into the particular issues and challenges facing society in general and the Jewish people in particular, I would like to offer a macro view which can profoundly alter our attitude in dealing with the uncertainty of our times.
Most problems can be solved by going back to basics. The solutions to most issues are not necessarily easy, however most times they are simple.
In this case the answer lies with the greatest asset that we Jewish people possess. It is something that each and every one of us was born with and which can never be taken away. It is in fact the secret to our survival as a people.
In one word; it is our “faith”.
It is this core asset which is inherent in each and every Jew, and which provides us with the inner strength and courage to face a world filled with uncertainty. To face the future by taking confident steps forward in the direction inspired by our timeless values and traditions. Irrespective of what some people might say or do. Not to be afraid of those who are filled with envy and hate. For those people are the ones who are truly insecure and profoundly afraid.
On the contrary, these times of uncertainty provide a unique opportunity for the Jewish people and Israel to be a light onto the nations by serving as a moral voice in a world that is confused and afraid. The liberal west has stripped itself of most of its traditional values. It has lost its identity and sense of purpose. What remains at its core is a profound void that is waiting to be filled with a fresh idealism that is uncorrupted by individuals with particular interests.
We the Jewish people must not be afraid to shine our light. It is indeed our privilege and responsibility to do so.