To say that I like superheroes is like saying that Ahab was mildly concerned with finding a white whale.
I think ‘obsessed’ is the word you’re looking for.
Yes its true that I couldn’t get enough comic books…but this fixation was beyond merely reading about them. I wanted to be one.
From the moment I knew how to tie a knot I was wearing a blanket as a cape and running around the house saving my little sister from invisible villains. I used to blow out birthday candles silently wishing for just one power….it didn’t matter which one…I would even settle for something totally lame like being able to turn a different color or thermoregulating so I was always the perfect body temperature. Sadly nothing materialized and so I started to grow out my finger nails and imagined them as adumantium claws. I would focus on objects and attempt to move them with my mind and every time I jumped off the diving board I imagined for just a second that I was flying.
This was the appeal of Batman. He didn’t have powers like the other characters. He was just a guy. A very rich guy with a dark past who had no social life and unlimited resources. Which really is the only way that a superhero could ever exist in the real world.
But lately I’ve been wrestling with this idea…I mean suppose for a second that superheroes really did exist. Batman? Superman? The X-Men? What good would these costumed vigilantes really do? It seems that most superheroes spend their time primarily fighting super villains. I mean yes, they also foil the occasional bank robbery and save cats from trees, but even on their best day (when they’re not causing millions of dollars in property damage with their melees across the city) a superhero simply reestablishes the status quo instead of taking on the real problems of the world. Poverty, climate change, hunger, global terrorism,corporate greed, government corruption and the list goes on.
Even if these superhuman crusaders existed, the real change would still have to come from the people.
This is what Menachem Mendel Schneerson, The Lubavitcher Rebbe was all about.
For the unacquainted, the Rebbe may just look like another picture of somebody’s Jewish grandfather on the wall. But for those touched by him and his legacy, he is known as a champion of Jewish outreach to the world, building institutions, advising on political affairs and providing blessings to the sick and needy.
Often lauded as the Messiah, he denied these claims. He was a man, plain and simple. It is for this reason that some Jews adorn their homes and workplaces with his likeness. Whether you believe he is a human being or more, he serves as a reminder of the change we are all capable of bringing to the world without a cape. And that is a true super power.