Rabbi Shlomo M. Brody asks:
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?
He concludes with the following paragraph:
Because of weather delays, the Red Bull Stratos launch was delayed until just a few days before the Shabbat when the world's Jews read about the Tower of Babel. That Torah reading, one hopes, reminded us that humanity's loftiness consists not in ascents to the Heavens but in dedicating our lives toward Heavenly actions on Earth.
Interesting thought, particularly this week when a dangling crane on a hi-rise building in New York made the news as Hurricane Sandy struck.