Monday, 10 December marked a great moment for space discovery. Forty-one years after launch, and having surveyed Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto, Voyager 2 become the second man-made object to reach interstellar space – the area between star systems in a galaxy.
Rabbi Luzzato, a philosopher from the 18th century, says the universe was created in order for humanity to explore. Voyager 2 shows mankind’s ability to surpass expectations, but also is a terrific example of never giving up on something in which you have invested.
There is a revealing episode in last week’s Torah portion that highlights this very idea. Jacob is estranged from Joseph, his favourite child, who he thought had been ravaged by a wild animal many years before. The Torah testifies that Jacob failed to be comforted over Joseph’s alleged death, although
20 years had elapsed.
Rashi explains the physiological mechanism of forgetfulness exists to enable people to “move on” and not wallow in grief and despair over losing
a loved one.
But Jacob was unable to be comforted over the loss of Joseph – and, in reality, his son was alive and living as viceroy of Egypt.
The Jewish story has always been one of hope and today’s Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, is a song all about hope and vision towards the future.
Similarly, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks says: “Judaism is a journey to the future. It is the only civilsation whose golden age is yet to come.” It is this hope that has kept the Jewish nation going for two millennia – and the same hope that meant Jacob refused to be comforted.
As Lord Sacks adds: “And so must we.”
- Rabbi Shauly Strom is an educator at Aish UK