Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mezuzot in s-p-a-c-e

Space shuttle Discovery will be launched in less than an hour, God willing. May God bless and keep the brave astronauts. Two mezuzot will go into outer space! Jewish astronaut Gregory Chamitoff said he would place them near his bunk to give him a sense of home as well as Jewish identity. They were made by Laura Cowan, a silversmith and designer of Judaica. She named this mezuzah below "Apollo." Almost all mezuzahs bear the Hebrew letter shin because Shaddai, one of God's names, begins with a shin. Cowan says that the windows on the spacecraft inspired this abstract shin.
Mezuzah actually refers not to the outer case but what goes inside: a small parchment scroll on which a certified scribe (sofer stam) has copied, in Hebrew, two passages from the Torah: Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21.
It is affixed to the right doorpost of the entrance to inhabitable rooms of Jewish homes.
Here is one of the two mezuzot in my home, this a simple one made of olive wood.

Here is the other one below. I opened the parchment for you to see the Shema, the main prayer recited daily, which is written on it. Click on the photo to see it enlarged.
The parchment is then rolled up like a scroll and the case is closed and nailed to the doorpost.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

Good luck to the astronauts, may they have a safe trip...thank you for the information Dina!

Tipper said...

Interesting-I learned something new!

reader Wil said...

Thank you for the explanation of the meaning of the mezuzah and the photos of the mezuzahs in your house. I've just read the two passages of Deuteronomy and understand why some men wear headbands as "frontlets between the eyes". Thanks for telling this.

Dave Coulter said...

I think I saw some of those at the Spertus Museum gift shop in Chicago. Any story about space travel is a cool story in my book!

USelaine said...

Those are all so beautiful. I can see why they would give comfort out in space.