Moms on the Moon

Moms on the Moon

Everybody knows that Neil Armstrong was the first human being in history to walk on the moon.

And nobody’s ever even heard of Michael Collins. Though the truth is that, if it wasn’t for Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong wouldn’t even have a Wikipedia entry.

Michael Collins was the fellow astronaut who accompanied Armstrong on that historic space mission to the moon. And the reason you’ve never heard of him is because he spent that entire mission inside the spaceship.

So, as a child, Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pinkus zt”l asked his older brother, “How is it possible that this other astronaut wasn’t dying to also go for a walk on the moon?! He went all the way to the moon, and then he spends the whole time inside the spaceship!?”

And then Rabbi Pinkus’ brother gave him an answer that Rabbi Pinkus would never forget for his whole life.

Rabbi Pinkus’ brother told him: “When a person understands how crucial his role in life is, he will never desire another role. If that other astronaut had gotten out of the spaceship and taken a peek, then that spaceship would have flown away, and those two astronauts would be there to this very day‚Ķ”**

It’s ironic that I actually read this story when I myself was on spaceship duty. I was in the middle of a marathon 3-hour playground session with my three youngest children this past Shabbat. And I felt like I was on a transatlantic flight, stuck for 3 hours hovering over Greenland.

Is it time for seuda shlishit yet? Is it time for seuda shlishit yet?

And my husband spent those three hours walking across the moon in his spacesuit, learning Torah at the neighborhood Beit Midrash. And that’s what I wanted more than anything else, almost. I wanted and I want my husband to be learning Torah.

But that spaceship story so hit the spot on that endless afternoon.

And, in general, I feel like that story so perfectly describes my life as a Jewish wife and mother. My husbands at minyan. My husband’s teaching Torah. My husband’s learning. And that’s what I want! Even when it’s not so easy, like this past Shabbat. Or when I have to miss a wedding or a play or a concert, because my husband has a chavruta or a class to teach. That is what I want more than anything, almost. To enable my husband to learn Torah and to teach Torah.

But at those moments, it always inspires me to remind myself that I’m my family’s Michael Collins. I’m keeping this family and this home from spinning off into outer space. I do what I can to make sure that my kids are taken care of and getting what they need emotionally, physically, spiritually. I do what I can to make sure that there is food on the table and that this house isn’t taken over by laundry (at present, the laundry’s winning, not me). I do what I can to make sure that this akeret habayit isn’t nodding off in the cockpit, so that the Weisberg family spaceship stays on course to becoming a true Bayit Neeman b’Yisrael, please God.

And that, I know, is what I want more than anything. Truly, truly.

**Heard from Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, parshat Beshalach 5771 (www.parasha.org)

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7 comments

  1. Deborah C.

    perfect.exactly what I needed to read just now. thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Chana, I needed that.

  3. Beautifully said. I should post this on every wall in my house!

  4. fantastic post. thanks for sharing a beautiful mashal

  5. Wow! What a powerful and important message.

  6. I’m so glad i read this – thanks for another ray of light on our hard working days…

  7. But it’s hard to always feel like that. I’m not always Rochel. Sometimes I really, really, REALLY want to get out and walk on the moon and not have the responsibility to keep the spaceship in position. Any suggestions?

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