Why are we obsessed with heroes? Everywhere we turn – the news, books, and everyday conversations – we hear talk of heroes. We love our Hollywood stars, professional athletes, and comic book characters intensely.
Of course, celebrating heroism is celebrating the human capacity to do or achieve amazing things, but could it be that we have become too drunk on heroes? Is our obsession born of mere escapism? Are we avoiding life by escaping into a fictional world or living vicariously through others? Do we immortalize heroes to help us forget our own flaws, at least temporarily, so that we don’t have to confront ugly truths?
Or perhaps there is something deeper. Perhaps heroes lend more to our own lives than just a tale of a knight in shining armor saving a damsel in distress.
This week’s Torah reading – Parshat Shelach – suggests that there is much more to the hero than meets the eye. In reading the story of Caleb and Joshua, who took a stand of heroic proportions, we find out the true meaning of what it takes to be a hero.
This sermon analyzes the personality of the hero through three graphic and inspirational examples and then goes on to introduce the crucial element, which allows any one of us to be a hero – to do the extraordinary thing in ordinary circumstances – by following the example of Caleb and Joshua.