Israel on the Moon

Question

Israel recently launched a spacecraft to land on the moon and this got me thinking if Judaism believes there is life on places besides our Earth. I’d appreciate your “Rabbi thoughts” on this topic. Thanks!

, , 3 months

Answers

  1. This spacecraft, called Beresheet, has quite a Biblical name. It means “In the beginning…” and, to me at least, indicates the Days of Creation, when the moon and everything else came into being. Israelis are very proud of this achievement, which brings Israel into the club of four nations to do so — the US, Russia and China being the others.

    One item about the lunar landing that caught my attention is that the spacecraft includes the entire Tanach — the 24 Books of the Torah, Prophets and Writings — laser-etched onto three small coins. I’m not sure who that’s for (aliens, or perhaps to lay the groundwork for a future outreach center), but we should remember that the Torah is a lot closer.

    How close? “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and take it for us, to teach it to us, so that we can fulfill it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us and take it for us to teach it to us so that we can fulfill it?’ Rather, the Torah is very close to you. It is in your mouth and in your heart so that you can fulfill it.” (Deut. 30:12-14) Our Sages remind us that we are very fortunate that it is so close, saying, “For if it were in heaven, you would have to go up after it in order to learn it!” (Rashi, Eruvin 55a)

    Regarding life on other planets, I honestly don’t know and am not aware of any Torah sources that clearly indicate one way or another. Our Sages take note that the first Human (either Adam or an Adam/Eve unit) was created “alone,” as one being. From this they learn the significance and sanctity of every single life, and that a person who saves one other person is considered as one who has saved an entire world.

    This topic of life on other planets is, of course, one of great interest and debate with many scientists, philosophers, intellectuals and others. I personally wonder about it as well sometimes. But I am much more interested in life on this planet, and especially how to make myself into a better person.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team