Friday, September 16, 2005

Batmensch

At age 52, as I deal with my arthritis and the other aches and pains I didn't have until a few years ago, I find myself reflecting more and more on the brevity of life and the fact of my own mortality. In connection with that, I often wonder how people will remember me when I am gone. Nobody will ever hold me up as a shining example of worldly success, and I accept that. I do believe, however, that just about everyone who knows me even casually gives me credit for being good, kind, decent, well-intentioned, and deeply religious; and in addition, a number of people have described me as a "Renaissance man," all of which would make pretty good raw material for an obituary or funeral sermon. (I will want some suitable quotes from Dante, Shakespeare, and Cervantes as well.) But having given the matter a great deal of thought over the past few years, there is one word that I hope would describe me in a nutshell; and if it doesn't do so yet -- well, I'm still growing and learning, and I don't expect to make my appearance in the obituary column anytime soon. The word in question is used by the Jews, and we Gentiles don't really have an equivalent; but at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I simply want to be a mensch.

I have long maintained that I could easily imagine myself being Jewish, if not for the fact that I believe the Messiah already appeared some 2000 years ago in the person of a certain Nazarene carpenter. But this article in today's Jewish World Review intrigued me, with its suggestion that Batman is Jewish. I believe the author makes a pretty good case, and I hope you find the article as interesting as I did.

Meanwhile, mazel tov to everyone!

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