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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
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Chanukah: A Time For Superheroes


Later that night, Atom is beamed up to the League’s space station. It’s been attacked, and its life-support systems have failed. Incredibly, though, the oxygen supply on board lasts long enough for vital repairs to be made. Not surprisingly, the newly inspired Atom compares that miracle to the miracle of Chanukah.

In a way, the Atom serves as a perfect metaphor for the Jewish people: the Greek forces led by Antiochus were undoubtedly the super-villains of their day – a lean, mean fighting machine armed with all the latest high-tech gadgets. Facing them are the Maccabees – a small, unprepared people who were vastly outnumbered. Yet the Maccabees were victorious.

The story might have been lost in the mists of time, except that to this very day, no matter how much darkness surrounds us, the Jewish people still light the menorah, in a gesture of reverence for our past and hope in our future.

Perhaps even a few superhero lessons can be gleaned here. (Come on: I’m a rabbi, remember?):

· Oil does not mix with other liquids, but rather rises to the top. A superhero rises above the mundane, everyday obstacles and focuses on the bigger picture of saving the world. Rather than sitting semi-comatose in front of the latest TV show, a real hero makes things happen in the real world.

· The olive produces its oil only under pressure. When the pressure’s on, that’s when a hero shines.

· As Doc Samson discovered, being a teacher isn’t easy. And teachers are today’s real heroes. They remind us that the great people of our past, like the Maccabees, did remarkable things and won amazing victories while armed with little more than their faith. If they could do it, imagine what we can accomplish. Even without long green hair and red spandex tights.

About the Author: Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, an internationally known best-selling author whose first book, "Up, Up and Oy Vey!" received the Benjamin Franklin Award, has been profiled in leading publications including The New York Times, The Miami Herald and The London Guardian. He was recently voted New York’s Hippest Rabbi by PBS Channel 13. He chairs the Religious Affairs Committee at Pratt Institute. His forthcoming book is “The Case for Children: Why Parenthood Makes Your World Better.”


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