The Rebbe Speaks About the Moon Landing

3 astronauts aboard Apollo 8 becoming the first humans to orbit the moon on December 24, 1968, the Rebbe delivered a lengthy address on the lessons to be derived from that historic

Here are two of the lessons that the Rebbe imparted (as brought by Dovid Zaklikowski on

This past week we witnessed an extraordinary event: people orbited the moon, and sent back photos of both the light side as well as its hitherto unseen dark side.

We can extract two lessons from this event:

Formerly, there was scientific "proof" that it is impossible to land on the moon, since it was thought to be impossible to achieve the necessary takeoff velocity without the rocket breaking up or catching on fire and the like. From this we see that mortal intellect is unreliable, given that whatever man thinks today may very well be proved erroneous tomorrow.

At the same time, we see demonstrated the tremendous feats that man can accomplish. This leads us to have an increased admiration and awe for the Creator: if this is what the finite human mind can accomplish, how much greater must be the infinite Creator, before whom all creations are absolutely nothing!

We can learn the second lesson from the way the moon landing was orchestrated. NASA took three men, and told them ahead of time that they would have to ignore their own personal wills and behave, to the last detail, according to the instructions they would be given from their superiors. If they wanted to eat, they would eat only when and what they would be allowed. The same would go for sleeping, and even for what shoes they would be allowed to wear.

Each astronaut was informed that a slight deviation from instructions in any of his actions could cause the loss of billions of dollars and endanger all his colleagues in the spaceship.

We learn from this how crucial a single action by one man can be. The astronaut, even if he does not understand why he must not do it and the harm it could cause, and even if he has only heard that this is the case from a sixty-year-old man who studied the subject for some time, trusts him and follows his orders precisely.

Nor does he argue that he's only one astronaut out of three, and can therefore do whatever he wants as long as the others follow orders—after all, he's just the minority—for he knows full well that whatever he does affects not only himself but the others in the spaceship with him.

From this we may learn a lesson in our service of G?d through Torah and adhering to the commandments of G?d: What an individual does has an effect not only on himself and his family; it has an effect on the whole city where he lives and on the entire world.