Ari Shishler
Ari Shishler
Working to bring Moshiach

Nu, would you fly to Space?

Is Space travel good for the Jews?

Considering the cramped quarters, limited baggage allowance and unpalatable food, I don’t see our community lining up to hitch a super-stratospheric ride. Besides, there’s no beach on the other side. Oh, and it’s pretty risky to ride atop a few thousand litres of blazing liquid hydrogen. A Jew may not willingly endanger himself.

Yet, wanting to fly to Space is almost the most Jewish thing you could ever do. To get to Space, you need to break free of Earth’s gravity. Every Jew inherently wants that.

No, we’re not looking to float off into the abyss. It’s just that life on Earth comes with a default propensity to be dragged down. We are preprogrammed to grow anxious, become depressed or dissolve into malaise.

Our soul, by contrast, is naturally designed to soar. It pulls at the bit to escape life’s materialistic humdrum to gain enlightenment.

Our natural responses to life are primitive. We eat when hungry, cheer when our team wins and sulk when our spouse discounts us. Our higher self aspires to shift, mature and rise to an elevated vantage.

Earth feels safe. “Up there” can be frightening, but so rewarding.

This week, Jeff Bezos told us that you see no borders from Space, only see a fragile planet that we all share. He learned that you gain perspective when you rise up. Richard Branson, who pipped him to the post, likewise remarked, “The most breathtaking thing about being in Space is actually looking back at Earth.” Earth isn’t always so “breathtaking” from where we stand.

At street level, we see the trash and the vagrants; we hear the taxis. We fear looting and crime, our competitors and the taxman. We believe the media, and we mistrust our loved ones. We feel that our world is chaotic, and we control almost none of it.

Soar to soul level, and the havoc coalesces. We realise that we need not control our world because it is in the Best Hands. We feel lighter, buoyant, flexible and empowered.

“Lift your eyes and see Who created all of this,” King David urges us. Most of us can’t afford to jet into Space, but each of us can propel ourselves to contemplate life from a higher perspective. You don’t have to fly to Space, but you don’t have to live stuck on Earth either.

About the Author
Rabbi Shishler together with his wife, Naomi and their eight children, runs Chabad of Strathavon in Sandton, South Africa. Rabbi Shishler is a popular teacher who regularly lectures around the globe. he hosts a weekly radio show in South Africa and is the rabbi of Facebook's largest Ask the Rabbi group.
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