When I asked the beautiful, 26-year-old naval officer about the morale in the Israeli Defense Forces, she answered sharply: "What do you mean by morale?"

"You know," I said. "What is the general feeling about the situation?" ("Situation" is the word we use for the, er, situation.)

"I don’t know what you mean by morale," she claimed. "My family learned the date I would enter the IDF on the day I was born. It was to be 18 years to the day later. My parents put it on the calendar in their hearts."

That reminded me of an earlier to trip to Israel and a walk in the Negev desert with Rav Dov Berkowitz.

As someone who has lived in both the United States and Israel, he said: "I don’t mean to offend you, but the United States is a place of great comfort, yet relatively little meaning. Israel is a place of great meaning, yet relatively little comfort."

Israel isn’t fighting for morale. The fight is existential.

So What’s That To Do With Me (Or You)?

I’ve given a lot of thought to this comparison of the United States
(great comfort, relatively little meaning) and Israel (great meaning,
relatively little comfort).

I’m not opposed to comfort. I like it. Lots of it. Like when it comes in a tall, cool glass with a tiny umbrella in it.

But that thought has motivated my desire to, someday, live in Israel.

And, then, during a drive last week, I realized: the balance of meaning and comfort is not geographic. One doesn’t have to move to Israel to find

Meaning can be found down the block, in the eyes of a child, in the way we spend our time.

How does life change if one decides that meaning is the primary goal, rather than comfort?