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April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
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The Incredible Hulk: A Classic Jewish Archetype


Patrolling the dock at this time is a young dark-haired, feisty Israeli policewoman with a secret.

“The military are in no shape to go after the Hulk!” she declares. “That leaves me to stop the monster before he menaces the rest of Tel Aviv!”

At that, the policewoman transforms into “Sabra, super heroine of the state of Israel.” Sabra’s costume, like the Israeli flag, is blue and white, emblazoned with a Star of David.

“Sabra” is the word used to describe a Jew born in the Land of Israel. The word is derived from the Hebrew tzabar, the “prickly pear” cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica. Rough to the touch, this desert plant has a sweet interior. Israelis may sometimes seem “prickly,” but this is simply a natural defense mechanism. Israel is a kind and benevolent nation at heart.

The Incredible Hulk himself is the ultimate sabra: angry on the outside, but inside he yearns to use his powers for peace. He represents all oppressed minorities who are feared because they look or act different. From the original comic books to his latest cinematic incarnation, the Hulk is a classic archetype whose appeal spans generations because his circumstances speak to us all.

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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