Minute #613: Superheroes

Cartoon artists have created an assortment of cartoon cultures. Some characters are political satirists commenting on the flaws of the ruling class. Others were created to entertain and educate children.

One popular genre is that of “superheroes” who perform supernatural deeds for the benefit of the underdog. The superhero is usually gifted with an unusual talent that enables the character to overcome otherwise insurmountable obstacles in order to save others. Some can fly, some can leap over tall buildings and some have super strength.

There’s one who has “X-ray vision.” When evildoers are hidden from view by walls or mountains, this character’s super vision acts as an x-ray to view the villain, thus enabling the superhero alone to foil the nefarious plot.

In today’s world, technology has advanced to where locations are covered by cameras that can broadcast surveillance pictures to a receiver thousands of miles away. It seems everyone can be a superhero. But most people are too involved in themselves to see others. Rather than envision another’s plight, they live within the confines of their line of natural sight.

Hashem cares about every single creature and expects people to care about others. When you are enjoying Shabbat — reading a sefer or spending time with the kids — does your mind’s eye “see” people under stress forced to spend yet another Shabbat in a hospital? When you’re vacationing, do you ever “see” people back home who can’t afford their daily expenses? When you’re celebrating with your family, do you ever “notice” the single who can’t find his or her mate or the couple who has not yet been blessed to establish their own family?

Expanding your vision will heighten your sensitivity to others. You may even be prompted to take constructive, helpful action.

Play superhero. It’s good for others and it’s good for you, too.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Every time you refrain from doing something wrong you elevate yourself. Try to feel that elevation. Become aware of every instance you restrain yourself from saying something that might hurt someone or feel angry at someone but are careful not to cause him pain. (Harav Shlomo Wolbe, Alei Shur, p. 95)