Space_Ship.htmlTEXTNISI{lT{l\(C Our Guide Book and Our Space Ship

Our Guide Book and Our Space Ship

 

"And it came to pass in the four hundred-and eightieth year after- the children of Israel left the land of Egypt in the fortieth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of Adonai."


We sit together in our house of God. The night sky is filled with beautiful stars, sources of brilliant light, generating new energy. They are so very far away; even the closest of all, named "Alpha Centauri" is thousands of light years from us. Ahh, to go there! The excitement of experiencing this wondrous place. But how can we get there? We've sent a rocket to the planets past Saturn and even Uranus. We've seen pictures of rings and unusual moons. That satellite travelled for many years and it is still within our solar system. It continues, further out, and yet... nowhere near a star. Our space shuttles are fast, fairly safe and comparatively comfortable. But they don't carry nearly enough food or fuel to go very far. And even if they did, if you or I were to get on one and try to go to Alpha Centuri, we would not live long enough to arrive. There may be another way to get there. Many scientists today are experimenting with designs for a super spaceship. One big enough to allow an entire community to fly together toward our distant star. A vehicle large enough to have room to grow our own food, build -our own furniture, make our own clothes, capable of even repairing our ship and building another. We could fly together in such a spaceship great enough to raise our famine... generation after generation. Eventually, the dream, the hope is that our children's children's descendents would be able to reach that star.


We Jews also dream of reaching a distant star. It is our hope for a time of peace and prosperity. Seemingly unachieveable, this will be the time of the messiah.

Imagine as we travel together, flying toward our star through deepest space. Generation after generation, we have been taught that there is a brilliant and wonderful source of light and energy that -offers the most fantastic opportunities, and most especially: the gift of wholeness. Now it is our turn and we focus on that beautiful point in the distance. We lovingly describe it to our children. Each generation convinces its children that there is nothing better in life worth achieving.

But how do we know the way there? We've been given a guide-book. Our book describes what our destination will be like and how we will recognize it. Our Bible also tells us where we have been and sets out some of the dangers that may lay ahead. And our Torah even records what previous generations understood about the trip to our goal. Together, we've avoided many dangers and solved numerous problems. We've navigated through showers of asteroids and avoided near misses of comets. Stray rocks in space have come so near to us we could almost reach out and push them away. At other times we have been hit and burnt by strange forces we couldn't understand. Our guidebook has offered us hints for ways to heal ourselves - ways to repair our spaceship and continue on our journey to that beautiful time of completeness, that wonderful star. But our guidebook does not tell us everything. It needs to be studied. We trust our teachers will be wise enough to understand and explain its lessons. We have our guidebook, but we, also need to pay attention to and learn about the uncharted space through which we move. Perhaps; we will need to explore a possible branch in our path - a hidden area for a possible alternate route. We might build a small ship and send out a scouting party. Scouts face and present different dangers. They move into a strange unknown than the one we anticipate. What they find may be personally seductive - they might choose not to return. Or the darkness they penetrate my prevent them from returning to us... or destroy them. Even if they do return, they will be different from us. Subtly transformed by their unique experience, how can we evaluate their message? We will somehow find a way to travel on together, no longer a homogeneous community.

Then one year, it may happen. A group of scouts will be convinced of one way, while our teachers remain committed to another. Unable to reconcile the differences, a new spaceship will be built. A part of our people continues to our common destination via an alternate route. In contact with one another, we struggle to convince one another that only our direction will enable us to survive. Perhaps we might learn to cooperate and learn to clear the dangers that lay between us.

Or else, it might occur... from out of the distance other vehicles draw near. Are they of friend -or foe? Those aboard complain of travelling incessantly, yet aimlessly. Convinced of the value of our quest, they request to join us. Puzzled, yet flattered, we welcome them and we continue together.

Travelling on, generation following generation, our greatest fear may become a reality. Our children, or our children's children, or yet perhaps their's may see a lovely little planet, pleasant and inviting. Wondering why they are still apparently cooped up in this space ship they may forget what we have taught them about why they are travelling to such a distant star. Tired, they may wish to settle down. They may no longer be interested in a dream that even their children may not live to experience as a reality. With one little decision, a generation can change our course and end the journey. Their decision can waste all the energies of previous lives, lives that once past, have no power to affect the course of our journey. That can happen in the future.

It might occur with us, in our time. The decision is always ours. In each generation we have the opportunity to rebuild our spaceship - our own community - as the house of God, a great mobile home for our people, always moving closer to the messianic time. Our Torah understands that we each have the will, the ability, the power to choose the direction in which we proceed. You and I may never get to that beautiful spark of energy. We may never experience the peace of the messianic era.


But we should never forget that we are participating in a wonderful adventure. As we see more stars in tonight's sky, we can be reminded of our guidebook and our journey, our Torah and our dream. Ours is a great choice for a journey of discovery. The peace of the heavens lays before us. We and our children will find our way.


Originally prepared for Parshat Terumah (many years ago @ 1981?)

©Mark S. Hurvitz