Did you see the picture of the Chabad House on Mars? I greatly admire the Rabbi and Rebbetzin who chose to open a Chabad house in such harsh conditions!
Well, okay, obviously, that famous picture was photoshopped. And as far as I know, there is no current Chabad House on Mars.
But when (should I say if?) they colonize Mars, I do not doubt that a long list of Chabad couples is looking to be the Shluchim on Mars.
Now, think about the challenge. A Chabad house on Mars might sound cool on paper and will get many likes on Instagram, but think about all the challenges that will face the Martian Shluchim.
There are obvious logistical challenges (how do you cook gefilte fish on Mars? Where do you place the Mezuzah in a space lab? What happens when you spill the Kiddush wine?)
And then there are the emotional challenges: where do you get the optimism and faith you need to venture into the wilderness and build a Chabad house in such a harsh environment?
A few thousand years ago, many men, women, and children embarked on a journey. It was a journey through the area filled with red-jagged mountains and sandy features, but it wasn’t Mars; it was the Sinai Desert.
It was the Jewish people traveling through the desert toward the holy land.
Despite the harsh condition and all odds, they did the unbelievable: building the Mishkan (tabernacle), a home for G-d.
Here is a quote from a letter the Rebbe wrote in 1957 (translated from Yiddish by ChatGPT!):
“Just as there is a desert in a physical sense – a wilderness, where extreme climatic elements and all kinds of problems prevail, there is also a spiritual desert…
“The Holy Torah teaches us that when found in a spiritual desert, one can, and must, erect a sanctuary, carry it with them, and move forward in the footsteps of the divine presence, until one comes to the G-d-blessed Holy Land, to the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach.”
This week’s Parsha is Bamidbar – in the desert, and now is a perfect time to realize how in every situation, regardless of how harsh it might seem, there is an opportunity for us to create a beautiful, divine space that will shine to our entire surrounding.