Among the Jewish symbols aboard the spacecraft Beresheet was a volume of Chitas (a Hebrew acronym for Chumash, Tehillim, and Tanya), a handy collection for daily study of the Five Book of Moses, Psalms, and the Tanya, Chabad’s foundational work.
According to a Chabad.org press release, the Chitas was included in a time capsule aboard Beresheet, to be left on the moon surface posterity, compliments of a Soviet-born Chabad-Lubavitch space scientist named Alexander Friedman who helped build the spacecraft and led a team of ground-control engineers in guiding it to its destination.
The Chabad press release explained that the practice of distributing Tanyas far and wide follows a long-held tradition based on a 1978 directive of the late Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory, to print the Tanya in as many places as possible wherever Jews reside.
And then some…
Friedman, a mathematician and noted space program scientist, described his involvement in the space program as “an inspiring event,” and “the closing of a personal and national circle.”
“The boy from Russia who was not accepted to study physics because he was a Jew is now part of a team that is sending off a spacecraft containing a disk with the entire Hebrew Bible [and Chitas] scanned onto it,” he said before liftoff.
It should be noted that the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn, is known to have said that “our understanding of the Tanya is like a goat looking at the moon.”