Rabbi Cary Friedman is a teacher and expert on Torah ethics. He works for the FBI, in the Behavioral Science Unit, as a sort of super-chaplain, to de-stress field agents and others. He also loves Batman comics. So much so he wrote a book, Wisdom from the Batcave, finding, in Batman, a Jewish role model:
Examining even more closely the ethics exuded by the Dark Detective, Friedman began to construct a series of ways to lead a virtuous life, linking the Batman’s ethical behavior to examples found in Torah and Talmud study. While working as a chaplain at Duke University in 1999, Friedman finished his first draft of what became his “Batman” book, now published seven years later as Wisdom from the Batcave.
“These are…the fundamental ideas, or rather, the universal Truths that define the heart-and-soul of the Batman character,” the author writes. “These ideas raise the Batman from a mere two-dimensional comic-book character to become a larger-than-life hero, symbol and inspiration.”
Each of the book’s 18 chapters explores how the Batman’s persona leads a virtuous and ethical life, with Friedman providing illustrative frames culled from the annals of Batman and Detective Comics to reinforce those concepts.
Rabbi Cary Friedman may also better understand Batman than most comics writers:
The central episode in Bruce Wayne’s life that prepares him for the challenges inherent in being the Batman is his witnessing the murder of his parents at the hands of a petty criminal. In that one instant, he vows he will not seek revenge, as one might expect. Instead, he swears he will never again allow another child to be similarly orphaned by a criminal. Such is the stuff of legend.
If I was in charge of the world’s coolness ratings Rabbi Cary Friedman would be the coolest man on earth. I think there should be a heavily fictionalized TV version of his life where he helps solve FBI cases with his bat-wisdom. He could even work with a frustrated young detective, orphaned at a young age, and seeking revenge, who clearly is supposed to embody the mixed-up real life spirit of Batman. Rabbi Friedman could help him solve crimes and solve the problems of his personal life.
You can see why I’m not in charge of the world’s coolness ratings. More here.