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Not Alone
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

The landing of the Apollo spacecraft on the moon was a stunning technological feat, the high point of a scientific era that was seen as the new hope for mankind. At the time we exulted that we would soon conquer the heavens as well, and all of our problems would be solved.

However, since 1972 no manned spacecraft has landed on the moon, and although science continues to advance by leaps and bounds, it has become clear that space travel is not the salvation of mankind. The United States is no longer prepared to spend the 200 billion dollars required to return to the moon within the next decade. We have learned to discern the difference between wild adventures with a high price tag and true scientific advances. Unmanned spacecraft with robotic controls are replacing the expensive human launches, and do the job just as well, if not better.

The recent phenomenon of disarmament and international cooperation, which began to gather steam in the early '90s, allow nations to divert billions of dollars from defense spending towards scientific advances in agriculture, medicine and biotechnology. It is now clear that true success will come from "below," from the efforts of millions of people working together, rather than through megalomaniac fantasies. It won't be the isolated genius who will discover the next wonder drug or miracle cure; rather, it will come about through the concerted efforts of many different research groups working together around the world.

The origin of this process, like everything else on the physical plane, is in the spiritual world. Chassidic teachings, which were first revealed 300 years ago by the Baal Shem Tov, teach us that the spiritual service of perfecting the world is not the sole responsibility of spiritual giants capable of supernatural feats. It won't be one tzadik or a small group of them who will do the work for the rest of us. True, they do an impressive amount of work on behalf of all humankind. But the responsibility to bring Redemption to the world rests with each and every individual.

The projects and accomplishments of the Lubavitcher Rebbe are known worldwide. No less, however, is the Rebbe known for the way he drew forth the energies and abilities of his many followers, in particular his emissaries around the world. The Rebbe taught all of us that it is our responsibility to make positive changes in this world. Each of us has a unique job to fulfill which cannot and will not be done by anyone else. One good deed, even a kind word or thought, has the potential to bring Redemption.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.



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