November 5, 2012

Red Bull's Wings to Babel

Rabbi Shlomo Brody, Jewish Ideas Daily

Not long ago, much of the world watched as Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner—working for a project called Red Bull Stratos, sponsored by the eponymous energy drink company—jumped to earth from a 24-mile-high helium balloon in a record-setting free fall that broke the sound barrier.  The feat set YouTube records and scored an advertising coup for Red Bull.  Yet there remains a critical question about this performance by what one magazine called the "God of the Skies": did it violate Jewish theological or halakhic norms?

When space travel first began, Jewish scholars debated its propriety.  The detractors quoted Scripture: "The heavens belong to God, and earth He gave to man."  God gave humankind permission to use Earth's resources, they argued, but had granted no...

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TAGGED: Space Travel, Judaism, Felix Baumgartner

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