The Best of Both Worlds
What can we learn from pop culture? What is the value of stories, especially the fantasy stories that have become so popular over the last century? Each week, join Rabbi Uri Cohen and discuss the heroes and icons of a popular series (books, films, or comics) and examine it through a lens of Mussar and Torah. Topics include the significance of secret identities in superhero comics, Emunah in Mashiach as expressed in the Matrix films, and the unusual attitude towards death in the Harry Potter series.
The Best of Both Worlds: Storytelling and the Value of Fantasy
The Value of Stories
The Appeal of Fantasy
Should Adults Read Children’s Books?
How Did Fantasy Become a Children’s Thing?
Actually, (Almost) All Fiction is Fantasy
The Best of Both Worlds: Superheroes as Role Models
The Heroism of Self-Control
The Heroism of Helping Others
The Value of Never Giving Up
Reading Superheroes as an Adult
The Great Burden
Chasid vs. Kovesh et Yitzro
Superman as Chasid
Superman as Survivor
Batman as Kovesh et Yitzro
Batman vs. Superman
The Best of Both Worlds: Masks and Secret Identities
Masks on Purim
Masks Can Be Liberating
Two Types of Secret Identities
Deciding Who You Are
Batman Vs. Bruce Wayne
Why Superman’s Secret Identity is Safe
He’s Really Superman
He’s Really Clark Kent
Both Identities Are Essential
We All Wear Masks
The Best of Both Worlds: The Matrix and Mashiach
Is There Judaism in “The Matrix”?
What’s Real? Thinking About It in Pop Culture
And How Do You *Know* What’s Real and True?
Insights Into Geulah and Mashiach
The Best of Both Worlds: Harry Potter and the Acceptance of Death
Some Good Middot and Lessons in the Series
Acceptance of Death
Should We Be Worried About Kishuf?
The Best of Both Worlds: The Mixed Messages of Barbie
A Torah Approach to Female Beauty
The Body Image Problem
Is Barbie Part of The Problem? Yes
Why Does Barbie Look Like That, Anyway?
Is Barbie Part of The Problem? No
This Doll Was Innovative: A Woman, Not a Baby
A Woman’s Independence According to Halakhah
A Woman’s Independence According to Handler
The Best of Both Worlds: The Greatness of (Charlie Brown and) Peanuts
The Middah of Sticking to It
Schulz’s Monumental Achievement
The Football Joke and the Middah of Naivete
It’s Dark and Bleak
Survival: Jewish Strategies
Survival: Peanuts Strategies
The Cartoonist and the Rabbi
Rabbi Uri Cohen has been teaching at Midreshet Moriah since 2005. He learned at Yeshivat Shaalvim and Yeshivat Hamivtar, and received Semikhah from RIETS (YU) and Yeshivat Hamivtar. He also holds Masters degrees in Medieval Jewish History and Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. For two years, he was an ATID Fellow. Through Torah MiTzion, he and his wife Dr. Yocheved Engelberg Cohen served as the first members of the Syracuse Kollel, and later as the first couple of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) at Princeton University. They now live in Ramat Beit Shemesh. His eclectic lecture topics have included Talmudic Misogyny in Context, Harry Potter and the Value of Fantasy, Contemporary Orthodox Responses to Homosexuality, and How Not to Do Outreach.