Tag Archives: Judaism

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochi and Telling Tales

With yesterday being Lag B’Omer here is something I wrote a few years ago pertaining to the joyous day. It was a thought that crossed my mind regarding Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (RASHBY).

Most, if not all observant Jews know the famous story of RASHBY. He and his son are forced to live in a cave for 13 years because Yehudah ben Garim told the Roman government about some unflattering things RASHBY said about them. As a result of those unflattering remarks the Romans wanted him dead.

However there is another story which RASHBY is a part of where he was the one who told and caused trouble form someone else. This is another famous story, where Rabban Gamliel is deposed because of his (continued) treatment of Rabbi Yehoshua. The Talmud in Brachos tells us a student asked Rabbi Yehoshua if Maariv (evening prayers) is an obligation or optional? He answered and then the student went to ask Rabban Gamliel the same question and he answered the opposite of Rabbi Yehoshua. The student told him this and Rabban Gamliel embarrassed Rabbi Yehoshua for the third time. At the end of this entire story the Talmud asks how this student was and it was RASHBY.

I find this to be an interesting juxtaposition of stories. One he is the victim and the other he is the cause and both have to deal with slander. It seems logical that the story of the cave happened when he was older while the other story was when he was a young student.

What if RASHBY having to hide in the cave was a Devine punishment for causing all the trouble for Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Yehoshua?

I don’t have an answer.

Jews in Comics

Note: this was originally posted on 2/2/2015. I’ve reposted it on the “new” blog with the original date and edited it for typos.

This morning while I was washing the dishes from Shabbos, I was listening to Giant Size a podcast about comics. It was part two of a series talking about universe wide cross-over events. Moises mentioned something about the Green Lantern comics which caught my ear. DC had a Muslim Green Lantern for a short time. This comment reminded me of something I felt when Marvel announced there would be a Muslim Ms. Marvel.

No, this won’t be a rant about how comic-book publishers shouldn’t publish books with Muslim characters. I don’t care, if they feel it is going to make them more money and get them new, different readers then more power to them. Additionally this isn’t an anti-diversity post. I don’t care publisher have turned Thor into a woman or that Captain America is now an African-American. However, there is a group which hasn’t been represented as much, I think it’s time for there to be a hero who is Jewish and identifies themselves as Jewish.

When I thought about Jews in comics, I come up with three characters who identify as being Jewish; Kitty Pryde, Magneto, and Ragman1. Why these three and not someone like Batwoman? The reason is that those three have identified themselves as being spiritually Jewish, not just having a Jewish last name or being of Jewish descent.

I’m not asking for the character to have their own title or even to be a major part of an existing book (although either would be nice), I think there is room in any of the comic universes to have someone who is Jewish and deals with the issues pertaining to keeping that religion. It’s already being done with Ms. Marvel, why not with another character and another religion?

The irony is that there are so many editors, writers and artist who are Jewish, one would think this could have easily been done already. In the past it could have been difficult2 but in today’s age of diversity, it would be accepted.

Realistically speaking, I don’t expect it to happen because there won’t be the shock factor that past editorial decisions have had3. Because there would be no shock factor there wouldn’t be a bump in sales. Now that I think of it, it would be interesting to see Magneto dealing with some of the things he’s done4 and trying to fit those into the context of Judaism. In case a comic publisher is worried about getting some of the nuances wrong, I happen to know someone who can help.


  1. There may be more but these three seem to be the most prominent. 
  2. Doing something like this when Siegel & Shuster were publishing Superman would have been impossible. 
  3. The above cases of Captain America, Thor, Ms. Marvel and also Northstar being gay come to mind. They all made a splash in the mainstream press. 
  4. All the murders would just be the beginning