A "Yankee " Liftoff in the week of Purim Kattan ,
Shalach Manos on Washington's Birthday
So what you say ? Why am I, an Orthodox Jew , devoted to the holy talmud,so excited?And what is this thing about Purim Kattan and Washington ?
The foundation of our faith , and of our survival through all of history against incredible odds, is that there is no such thing as ``chance.And even if we can't see clearly the hand of haShem, and all is hidden in Nature, nevertheless,it is 'haKodosh Boruch Hu' ,the 'blessed one' guiding and bringing about all that happens. This is the overriding message of Purim.When we thought all was lost and we were finished as a People, the Creator reveals Himself as our all loving "Father" , no matter how far we might have strayed.
On a leap year like this , Purim Kattan , the 14th ànd 15th of Adar Rishon, fall out in the week we read of the sin of the golden calf and which ultimately led to our dispersion amongst the Nations, and of the breaking of the luchos rishonim and rewriting of the luchos sheniim.
Our meforshim explain that Moshe received a 'thankyou' from haShem, because the breaking of the luchos and the subsequent prayers and teshuva for the new, renewed our kesher with Kudhse B'rich Hu, brought down to this world, new luchos, which through toil, love and devotion ,gave us a much deeper and everlasting connection with the torah.The same happened hundreds of years later; the second Temple,(after 70 years of exile, with the miracle of Purim) though it lacked the 5 miracles which were daily found in the first Temple, had greater honour , and actually all the ever growing body of torah she b'al peh, the oral law, as represented in the miracle of Chanuka started in the second Temple.
There is a mesora, going back to the Gaon from Vilna, that the last journey for the Jewish people in 'golus Edom'-- Esau' before we return Home, would be in America.And that , somehow, that last nation would be better than previous ones(though not completely). One of the reasons given for the name 'chazir' describing Eisav is the in the future eh will 'return ' the ingdom to Israel.The incredible symbiosys we see going on now in world history is a direct reflection of that medrash.
There is a legend (and I don't believe , I've yet seen any clear proof of its veracity), that Washington was ready to give up , just before an important battle, but then 'happened', on a yiddish soldier lighting his Chanuka light, and that was what gave him the courage to go forward to eventually win the war.It always sounded to me kind of preposterous, a 'frum yiddle' in the middle of nowhere?
Lo and behold, last week, the good people responsible for the Inyan magazine gave us a well documented article by Rabbi Menachem Levine about the Jew who saved the American Revolution - Haym Salomon, who basically single handidly financed the War effort (and died penniless as they never paid him or his heirs back).Salomon was a proud and observant Jew ,involved in the active Orthodox congregation , Mikve Israel in Philadelphia, now known as the synagogue of the American Revolution.
So you thought it was the religious Quakers made America a religious and moral country? No. It was the quiet Yidden busy, worldy and doing good, building a stable civilization , acting as always ,in every generation of golus as the Yosefs, Abarbanels, Rothchilds, and so on (and being paid so often with hate and ayin ra).
I don't know about the Chanuka light story, but what is documented is that in 1781 the Continental Army had trapped Cornwallis and was ready to deliver the final blow, but the war chest was completely empty.
Washington told his superintendent for finance , Robert Morris ,'Send for Haym Salomon,' and so the Revolution was saved.
In our day we are seeing ,in general an incredible 'partnership' between our people and the United States of America, to the extent that the 'heads ' of the two countries seem to have their lives almost intertwined.So,it struck me that the hasgacha of this launch coming when it did speaks volumes.
I don't know if the other members of Bereshet are observant , but at least ,one ,Arile Gomez, is.What makes this really exciting is that it is in the most true 'Yankee Spirit ' of free enterprise, mixed with a little 'chutzpa and Yiddish ingenuity. What we as Yidden have taught the world in all of history, is that "Freedom' must go with 'Responsibilty'. And yes, they asked shaalos, guidance from gedolim.
if I remember the possuk , 'V'yhi Dovid maskil bchol drochov'- David was successful (ie.'used his head') in all his ways.
The launch of the Space IL as payload on Falcon X was actually a "marriage' in the finest tradition of free enterprise which made America great, and Jewish "sechel " , 'stickability,`and faith. Coming in the week where the kriah discusses the roots of our dispersion and ultimate redemption as fulfilling our `Mission `to be a `light unto the Nations``,we just have to realize , we are a People with a destiny.
Google had ,in 2007 offered a prize of $20 million to the first private company to make a lunar landing by 2015.The spacecraft had to land, travel 500 meters and beam back photos to earth.At the end of 2010 when the registration period was almost closed, 33 companies had joined , but not one Israeli.Three Big Thinking Israelis,Yariv Basch,Yonatan Weintraub,and Kfir Damari put down $50,000 3 years later than most of the others.The others had time to make a separate vehicle to travel 500 meters.Space IL had no time so, 'Passover' - the lander will take off again and hop 500 meters!
In the end (after extending the deadline a few times ) Google withdrew the offer and the other companies simply dropped out. But Space IL was in for real, and somehow the $100 million came together from many sources necessary for the trip.
So ,Space IL has become the first privately funded, non profit vehicle off to the moon to prove the strength of the human will and ingenuity , with a little (a lot , actually) of 'sechel' and faith (the first section of the talmud , dealing with agriculture is called 'Emuna' , because without emuna, a person would not plant a seed.
I saw last week divrey torah by haGoan Zev Hoberman , ztz'l ,who discusses the deep words of the Gaon from Vilna and the Maharal how the miracle of Purim comes from so high , that there is no mention of haShem .Haman cast lots for his success; in the end, that turned around and the mazal of Yidden went up.
Have we not been hearing the serious rumblings of war by the new ambitious Hamans of our times, Iran , Russia?
I heard from the gaon and tzaddik Rav Shmuel Unsdorfer, that milchemes Gog umagog already was.
I want and do to believe that this launch , the world's first privately funded mission, non profit (& is not just empty pride but will benefit society) is a lift of the Jewish star -- 'bli ayin hara.