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Saying Shma in Space


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

29 Iyyar 5764
The Mishnah states that one must say Shma when one rises in the morning and when one lays down to sleep at night. If one were to be in space, such as what occured in Ilan Ramon’s case, how does one observe such a statement? I think I recall hearing that one must follow the time as it would be in Jerusalem. And I read that he said the Shma as he passed over Jerusalem. What are the rabinical arguments made on the observance of Shma in space?
He could follow the time in Jerusalem. Another option would be the time at the point of lift off. There is an argument that the space traveler is not bound at all by earth time, but I find that position unconvincing. In the 1983 edition of B’or Hatorah there is an article by Professor Yehudah Levy, a fine Torah scholar, about keeping Mitzvot in outer space generally.
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