I’m sure you’ve been following the Discovery Mission developments.
And today the flight crew honored the memory of all fallen astronauts.
Including, of course, those lost in the Columbia disaster.
While every loss is very tragic?
As Jews, we especially remember Illan Ramon.
And his picture came to mind when I read the following.
It’s a tribute by John Phillips, Expedition 11 Flight Engineer.
“We share your dream of coming to understand ourselves and our place in this universe.
And as we journey into space you will be deeply missed”.
… I would have said it a bit differently.
Because as fascinating as space exploration is?
We can’t really come to understand our place in the universe from it.
What can we learn?
To appreciate our place in the universe.
Because there are two ways we can respond to the view from the Challenger.
Look how huge the universe is.
And how small we are!
And not only are we little specks in the universe.
Even the earth is a little speck.
We’re just a speck on a speck in the universe!
Do we really count?
… But there’s another way we can respond.
Look at this amazing universe.
And you know what?
G-d created it for us!
To give us a sense of awe. An opportunity to discover G-d.
And to have a relationship with Him.
… Exploring space can’t give us the answer.
But Illan Ramon did!
With the Torah he brought along.
And the Shabbat Kiddush cup he held up.
… It’s the Torah that teaches us our place in the universe.
That we are not just little specks.
But that every human being is created in the Image of G-d.
And the Kiddush cup represents Shabbat.
A time set aside to say wow!
To remind ourselves of our place in the universe.
And to connect to G-d.
… Tragically, Illan didn’t return.
Neither did his Torah and his Kiddush cup.
But we can take inspiration.
And make this Shabbat special!
All the best,