Mendy Kaminker

This Rosh Hashanah, smash an asteroid!

Here is a crazy idea:

Let’s take a spacecraft, launch it to space on top of a giant rocket, smash it forcefully with an asteroid, and then wait and see what happens!

Sounds like fun, right? Except this is some serious stuff.

For years, scientists have been concerned about the possibility of an asteroid colliding with planet earth. Such a collision might be catastrophic; is there something we can do to avoid it?

So this Monday (the first day of Rosh Hashanah), a spacecraft will collide with an asteroid. NASA scientists (I hope they allowed the Jewish one to take off for the holiday!) will be closely tracking the results of this experiment.

They don’t expect the asteroid to break up. They don’t believe that this small spacecraft will cause the asteroid to explode. All they want is a little nudge. Just a tiny push for the asteroid will be enough to alter its trajectory.

And if all works as planned, and we will never spot an asteroid threatening our planet, we will give it a little nudge – and save humanity.

It’s going to happen on Rosh Hashanah. I will not be watching a live broadcast of this collision in space. Instead, I will be spending most of my day praying in Shul.

When I open the Machzor (prayer book), I will read how Rosh Hashanah is considered the day of judgment. On this day, G-d decides everything that will happen in the coming year. This sounds serious and scary. Will my actions even matter? Can I, one person, make a real difference?

And then, I will think of NASA. I will remember how even one slight nudge, a tiny movement that seems so insignificant, can save humanity. The Rebbe would often quote Maimonides, who declared:

“One should see the world, and see himself as a scale with an equal balance of good and evil. When he does one good deed the scale is tipped to the good – he and the world is saved.”

On a micro level, sometimes even one small act can have a significant impact. A smile, words of encouragement, or just showing someone we care about them can leave a tremendous impression and change their lives.

On a macro level, our “small” actions can save the world. This year, I hope to remember that our mission is not to explore asteroids or start global movements.

I hope to remember to never underestimate the power of one Mitzvah. And I pray that this year our Mitzvot will finally change the trajectory of the world, propelling it to an era of peace and harmony, with the coming of Moshiach very soon!

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of
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