Eating hand-made shmurah matzah in space during Passover may sound like something out of a sci-fi film, but when four astronauts lift off tomorrow on the Axiom Space mission to the International Space Station that is exactly what will happen, given the mission’s timing around the start of Passover, which begins this year on at sundown on Friday, April 15.
Taking the matzah will be Israeli astronaut Etyan Stibbe, 64. The former Israeli Air Force fighter pilot and philanthropist was given a box of hand made shmurah matzah as well as other provisions for Passover by Rabbi Zvi Konikov of Chabad of the Space & Treasure Coasts.
“It’s very exciting,” said Konikov. “As a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary for 31 years, I’ve given out matzah in every single place and every single scenario, now to provide matzah to a Jew who is boarding this space flight and connecting with the International Space Station” is quite different
Not only is Stibbe taking a symbolic piece of Judaism with him to space, he will have the opportunity to fulfill the commandment of eating the matzah there as well, which, said Konikov, “is to me out of this world.”
That Stibbe wanted to have the matzah with him on the International Space Station, “sends a powerful message,” the rabbi continued. “If it’s important that an astronaut, with so much on his mind, just three days before the start of his mission is getting matzah, that sends a powerful message to every Jew wherever they are that they should also make sure they have everything they need for Passover.”
During a press conference earlier this week, Stibbe was asked about celebrating Passover in space and he said “it’s a new thing,” given the mission was postponed to April 8.
“The seder, Passover, is all about freedom which is a value we celebrate annually and remind ourselves about the importance of freedom, [which is] based on a 3,000-year-old story when Moses said the famous sentence ‘Let my people go,’ ” he said.
Read more at Chabad.org