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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

 

Queen Esther and Superman:
A Purim Teaching by Rebecca Shavit-Lonstein

 

This year, on the 24th of March, is the holiday of Purim. To recap the story of Purim, which is found in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible, a story is told, of a young Jewish woman living in the Persian empire, who is selected by the Persian King to be his bride. The queen never revealed her Jewish identity and when the king’s right-hand man (Haman) wants to destroy all the Jews throughout the empire, Esther reveals she is Jewish and begs the king not to let Haman kill herself and her people.

“Okay,” you say, “great story and I love to eat Hamantaschen cookies, but what does this have to do with Superman?” Well, what is not widely known, is that Superman is Jewish. He was created in the late 1930s by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who were sons of Lithuanian and Dutch Jewish immigrants. Siegel and Shuster were seeking to create an American superhero who could fight the Nazis. Superman came from the planet Krypton and his name was Kal-El, which means in Hebrew, All God. He grew up in a foreign place (Earth) and was given the very American name Clark Kent.

Just like Queen Esther, whose Hebrew name was Hadassah, Superman can hide his identity. At times he can be Clark, the nerdy, glasses-wearing, journalist who can fit in with the rest of the American white population and when needed he can be his true self, Superman. Superman was created to reflect the dichotomy of the American Jewish immigrant experience.

Superman and Esther are both living in the diaspora, both are orphaned, existing in dual realities, are separated by their uniqueness (Superman has his strength and Esther her royal position), work within the systems they live in, yet go back to their original identity to save many under their protection.

In Esther’s case, unlike Superman who shifted between his two identities, she guards her secret identity until revealing it to the king, which will help save her people from total destruction.

So, let us remember that Queen Esther had the inner strength of Superman’s external strength to stand up, under pain of death, to save the Jewish people, her people, from total annihilation during the rule of the Persian empire.

Have a joyous Purim!

3 Comments:

Blogger peter said...

Helpful content!



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March 27, 2024 at 6:42 AM  
Blogger james anderson said...

This comparison between Queen Esther and Superman beautifully illustrates the enduring strength and resilience found in both characters. Their ability to navigate dual identities and stand up for their people is truly inspiring. Happy Purim!
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April 20, 2024 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger williamsdavid said...

The story of Puram fascinates us; Esther's bravery saved her people from destruction. Like Queen Esther, obstacles must be overcome. This story makes me think that when the going gets tough, we How flexible can be. One such topic was given to me by my university on which I had to write an assignment from Coursework Writing Service in the USA .

June 3, 2024 at 12:54 AM  

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