A Near Miss of a Million Miles The scientists, mathematicians, programmers and technicians, spent two years planning, designing and building all necessary equipment and trajectory for the mission to Mars. Everything is in readiness and take-off is spectacular. Everyone awaits eagerly the all-clear that on board instrumentation and voluminous calculations are all on target. All seems well – even months into the mission. Until one astute technician notes that the space craft will miss Mars by over a million miles. Yet that huge distance of a million miles represents less than a 1% error in calculations.
• A tiny mistake at the very beginning generates a huge change in the outcome. The Rebbe often noted in context of early childhood parenting that a small nick on the young trunk of a future tall and towering tree will appear as a huge unsightly scar and deformity when the tree matures.
• Beginnings are critical. Most critical are beginnings of families in our society today. The tragic bout of shootings that we have witnessed in seeming civil society, in schools, in supermarkets, in office buildings, are all symptomatic of failure in the most formative stages of a child’s growth.
• A generation is being raised parentless – with no positive modelling, nurture and love – the basic components of civilisation. Whether this is due to lack time in a time-poor world, or family breakdown with its attendance animosities and horrific misbehaviours, or distortion of the family unit through confusion of identity, or ego-centred goals stemming from insecurity or insensitivity – all these have produced a parentless generation that expresses its conscious and subconscious disappointment through rage and anger, hitting out blindly. • This Shabbat we begin reading the Torah afresh, Parshat Bereishit, ‘The Beginning’.
• So make a new beginning in all aspects of your family life that need appropriate remedy. Give your children and grandchildren a chance to witness positive modelling, especially in circumstances of adversity. A less than 1% error can mean you are off target by a million miles.