A new telescope which will have been launched at year’s end will peer into moments after the so-called big bang, creation of the Universe. The James Webb telescope costing a mere ten billion dollars is the successor to the Hubble telescope and is thought to peer into what cosmologists call the “baby universe.” As it takes light travelling at 186,000 miles a second to reach us, distant objects that we peer at are an actual view of the past. As such, the telescope is a bit of a time machine.
A century or so ago, the milky way galaxy, our cosmic neighborhood was thought to be the entire universe. We have come to understand that it is in fact just one of millions and millions of galaxies. Here’s the thing! In the far distant future, it may seem so once again. As our universe is expanding, the light in the future will be too far away to reach us. The milky way will be all that we can behold in the heavens.
It is natural to think about the future. Such is one of the aspects of Judaism I treasure. We have always contended that there is a linear path, that humanity is going to a better time in history. In an age where so many dystopic views permeate our thinking, we need to cling to a vision of what can be. And as individuals we might do well to think about what kind of future we want for ourselves, our loved ones and those who will follow.
Wishing you a Happy New Year
Yossi Liebowitz, Rabbi