Last week, from out of the blue, I received a phone call from Bob, an old buddy from my days in Hollywood. We hadn’t been in touch for several years. Why, I wondered, had G-d, HaKodesh Baruch Hu, put it into Bob’s mind to call me now?
“Mazel tov!” he said.
“Mazel tov for what?” I asked.
“An Israeli is the biggest star in Hollywood.”
“Who is that?” I inquired.
“Gal Gadot in the movie, Wonder Woman.”
His excitement, and obvious pride, that an Israeli had made it to the top in Hollywood was a sanctification of G-d's Name, Kiddush Hashem, in itself. The fact that an Israeli plays the role of the superhero who comes to save the world is even a greater Kiddush Hashem, since in real life, it is indeed the Nation of Israel which has the Divine role of bringing salvation to an unjust and war-torn planet.
In their subconscious psyches, the nations of the world are aware of Israel’s mission of Redemption, and, on some inner level, the movie “Wonder Woman” and its Israeli star, remind them of this great Divine truth. In a similar way that their belief in their Messiah paves the way, as the Rambam explains, for their future acceptance of the true Israeli Mashiach, from the House of David, may he come soon.
This is also a reason that Arab countries are refusing to screen the movie, in which an Israeli is the redeemer of the world and not a prophet of Islam.
“Have you seen the movie?” I asked him.
“Not yet,” he replied. “I’m planning to take my daughters.”
Bob had married a non-Jewish woman. Even though his daughters were gentiles, he told them that they were Jewish. Thank G-d for having saved me from a similar fate! I am certain that had I remained in Hollywood, I would have married a gentile too. May Hashem have mercy on American Jews!
“Do me a favor,” I said. “After you see the film, let me know if there are any Christian symbols in it.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Remember in the movie, Cool Hand Luke, at the end, when Paul Newman gets shot?”
“When he’s lying on the ground, dying, when he smiles his ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ smile, his legs are straight together and his arms are spread out in the pose of Jesus on the cross. Remember?”
“How could I forget?” he replied. “We saw it together, twice, one showing after the next.”
Bob and I had attended New York University Film School together. Afterward, we both moved to Hollywood. He was one of the producers of a successful Clint Eastwood film, and I sold several screenplays which were made into feature films. When I became a baal tshuva, he thought I was crazy, trying to convince me to remain in Hollywood and continue my career. A few years later, I was learning Torah in Bet El, in a kollel program for baale tshuva started by Rav Eliezar Melamed.
My Mother called me from America, saying that it was all well and good to learn Torah, but that I had to make a livelihood as well. She said that she and my Father were coming to Jerusalem for ten days, and that she wanted me to barricade myself in their hotel room and write a new screenplay for Hollywood during their visit.
Like a good son, I followed her orders. Borrowing the characters and plot of the “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” I set my updated tale in modern New York City and had my Hunchback swing from skyscraper to skyscraper in rescuing the damsel in distress from the villain, Claude Frollo.
This was a decade before the Walt Disney remake of the Victor Hugo classic, before Batman and Spiderman, and all the rest of comic-book heroes which followed. I finished the script before my parents boarded their return El Al flight. I sent the screenplay to Bob in Los Angeles with an agreement that we would be partners. His agent sold it to Carolco Studios, which made the early films of Arnold Schwazenegger and Sylvester Stallone. They bought it for one-and-a-half million dollars, but then they went bankrupt, so we only received the first payment of two-hundred thousand dollars, which was enough to keep me learning Torah for another few years.
The reason I had asked Bob to see if there were Christian symbols in the movie was because I had noticed that the medallion worn by Wonder Woman is in the shape of a star, which lighting and specials effects could easily turn into a cross. A few days later he called me and reported that, indeed, in the final battle, the evil god of Mars delivers a devastating blow to Wonder Woman which leaves her lying in a crucifix pose on the ground. Then she is swept into the heavens where she becomes a flaming electrified cross, before swooping back down to earth to obliterate the evil villain.
On Wikipedia, you can find the detailed plot of the story. As Sholom Aleichem would say, “B’Kitzor,” to make a long story short, Wonder Woman comes to the world to save mankind from the ravages of World War One. Her archrival, Ares, the mythical god of war, is set upon destroying mankind, declaring that all men are intrinsically evil, but Wonder Wonder believes that the power of love – the supposed message of Christianity – can triumph over all evil.
In the book, Orot, in his essays on “The War,” written during World War One, Rabbi Kook explains that wholesale violence and horrible bloodshed of the war were a direct outgrowth of Christianity and its teachings, which, while preaching love, merely repress all of man’s baser passions and instincts, without refining them. This suppression, over time, must bring about a cataclysmic explosion, and this is what lay behind the World War. Speaking about Christianity, Rabbi Kook writes:
“The moral repression, found in the profane culture which exerted vast dominion over the nations of the world (Christianity), brought oppression to the heart, and caused evil character traits, moral diseases, and anger to multiply and be pent up in the depths of man soul. And now these are escaping their fetters through the horrendously bloody and awesomely cruel war, which is more in keeping with their still unrefined natures.”
In teaching that the love of Jesus cures everything, and that a person only has to embrace the Christian Messiah for all of his sins and lusts to be forgiven, Christianity severed mankind from G-d, bringing darkness to the world, for only the Torah and its emphasis on Tikun HaMidot (refining character traits) can truly refine the world and purge man’s heart of evil. Rabbi Kook warned that if the nations of the world which were founded on the tenets of Christianity did not abandon their false and Torahless cultures, the poisons of repression would build up again and explode into yet another devastating World War – which indeed came to pass two decades later. Rabbi Kook died in 1935.
While the world is now focused on the evils of Fundamentalist Islam, the still unrefined tenets of Christianity still pervade European and American culture, and a showdown is yet to come.
In another essay Rabbi Kook reveals that all of the Supermans, Batmans, and Wonder Women of the world, are, in essence, personifications of the Nation of Israel. It is the Nation of Israel, “the kingdom of the high holy ones,” not Christianity nor Islam, which is destined to bring Redemption to the nations, whom Rabbi Kook calls, “forgetters of G-d in their innards and carrying His Name on their lips.”
“The sin of the murderers is imbedded with stain, the evil kings of the land, and all those who bring terror to the earth. ‘The land will not be atoned for the blood which has been spilled upon it, except through the blood of those who spilled it.’
Miri Regev, our Minister of Culture, has a chance to be a real Wonder Woman.
And the atonement is sure to come – the total annulment of all of today’s cultural machines, with all of their lies and deceit, with all of their evil pollutions, and their venomous poisons. The entire culture which praises itself with melodious lies must be erased from the world, and, in its stead will be established the kingdom of the High Holy Ones.”
And this is where Miri Regev enters the picture. Miri Regev, our Minister of Culture, has a chance to be a real Wonder Woman. Not merely by a little touch-up Photoshop work that any high schooler can do on his computer, replacing the face of Gal Gadot with the strikingly similar face of Miri Regev, in the Wonder Woman poster – and by replacing the Wonder Woman’s starry medallion with the Star of David – but by making sure that Israeli artists who possess a love of Hashem, a love of Torah, a love of Am Yisrael, and a love of Eretz Yisrael, receive the funds necessary to foster a true Israeli culture, the holy Torah culture which will bring Redemption to the world.
As Israel’s Minister of Culture, Miri Regev holds the scepter of true cultural tikun in her hand, with its power to revolutionize all existence.
As Rabbi Kook writes:
“The light of Israel will appear, to establish a world with nations possessed of a new spirit, nations who will no longer speak emptiness, and will no longer act contemptuously against Hashem and against His Savior, against the light of the life of the world, and against the perfection and the belief embodied in the eternal Covenant....
“Therefore, the entire present-day culture will most certainly be destroyed, and upon its residue there will be established a new world building in truth, in the knowledge of G-d. ‘And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of Hashem’s House shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all of the nations shall stream into it.’”
In the meantime, pass the popcorn, please.