The morning sun breaks through the density of the dark forest night, signaling to me that another day dawned. A day like the many that preceded, one of ceaseless search and hopeless attempts of finding my out of this lonely nightmarish forest, to the Promised Land. The map I acquired was insufficient for it was written in old letters and the diagrams seemed outdated. So I decided to find the path on my own, but I admit I failed terribly. For the landscape is more complex than I estimated and I don’t have the requisite experience of navigation in situations like these. So I climbed high mountains and swam through rivers progressing slowly to what I thought to be the way to freedom, but after weeks of excruciating physical work I realized it was all in vain. I had drifted yet deeper into the dark.
Heartbroken and despaired I continue on my quest, and to my surprise I confront a crossroads. A fork forming two divergent paths is displayed before my eyes. To the right, I see a road cemented with granite, evidently paved thousands of years ago and endured with pride and majesty. It survived the earthquakes and natural disaster, outlived the seasonal storm and prevailed over catastrophe. With a closer look at the pavement I recognize my father’s footprints and the signatures of many ancestors. They marched proudly on this way confident and doubtless, leading the way for their youngsters to follow. The sprouts of grass in the cracks of the road tell me my mother cried while trekking this hike, watering the lost seeds in the road. It is this same trail that led to the Temple and Mezbuszh, to the universities in Babylon and exile in Siberia.
Yet, to the left is another road, contrasting its parallel not in durability but in beauty. Trees baring exotic fruit create a shade and protection from above and vineyards form a shelter for the passenger along the way. The pavement is coated with a bed of roses, fresh water gushing down the brook at her side, and the aroma of lemons mixed with fresh berries fill the atmosphere. Melodious birds sing in harmony to the sound of a spring breeze to the oak trees, offering a symphony unprecedented in music. It is this path that produced the philosophy of Maimonides and the peoms of Halevi, the art of Beethoven and the genius of Einstein.
But with much contemplation I realize that as pleasing it might be, it is at least as daring. Yes, its plains are richer than the former but it’s endangered by the cruel winter storm, and even from the thorns that inevitably hide behind pretty flowers. Its destiny is unknown, thus maximizing the potential of an explorer offering him a vastness of opportunity and quality, while also explaining rumors we heard of hikers that drifted off to uninhabited worlds and were never found.
Only one path can be experienced to the fullest. The former offers certainty and security, the latter is tempting, appealing and seductive. I sit on a rock at the parting of the roads and burst out in tears, tortured by conflicting interests, and in pain of being ripped in two.