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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The construction of a spacecraft.”

The construction of the Tabernacle can be compared to the construction of a spacecraft.

A spacecraft is an extremely complex structure made of a multitude of parts, each one of which must be perfectly precise.

First of all, all the calculations must all be correct.

Then all the parts must be manufactured, and when construction begins, everything must be done exactly according to plan.

An entire team of experts pores over each stage. One team checks the accuracy of the calculations; another checks whether the work was done according to all the specifications of the plans.

Then an attempt is made to assemble all the parts, and even then everything must be checked:

Do the screws really fit?

Are they in the right place?

Did anything fall out?

Have any cracks developed?

Once everything is assembled, the whole apparatus must be dismantled to verify whether all is truly in order.

At the end of the entire process, after the arduous preparatory process is finally complete, comes the moment when someone presses a button and the real question arises:

Will the spacecraft lift off or not?

In 1988, the Soviets sent two satellites to study Mars and its moons.

The satellites were operated by solar energy, and for that purpose, they occasionally had to change their wing angle according to instructions they received from Earth.

A daily communication lasting a few seconds was sent to them containing thousands of commands in computer code.

These commands had to be checked on a daily basis, line after line, and then rechecked, so that no error should creep in.

One day, someone erred and entered one incorrect letter in one of the lines of the program.

Two days later, it was discovered that the satellite had shut down, was unable to change its wing angle, had depleted its batteries, and all contact with it was lost.

Thus, an incredibly expensive spacecraft was lost, all because of an error in one word, in one line, which caused it to shut down.

The device may still exist somewhere in space, but it doesn’t do anything meaningful. It changed from an instrument that could have been of great benefit to a worthless, insignificant object.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz