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There have been many super heroes in Jewish history. For example, Rivka was actually Batman. See Onkelos on Bereshit 24:23:

וַאֲמַר בַּת מָן אַתְּ

And he (Eliezer) said "You are Batman"

aka "בת מן החמור" - Batman the Dark [Knight] (Steinsaltz on Chullin 114b).

Superman is Yaacov, as this Malbim on Bereshit 28:10 explains:

ולמה ספר מן הלינה ולקיחת אבני המקום

And why was Superman lodging and taking stones from the place

aka "ספר מן הספיר מן המקום" - Superman, [and] the sapphire stones from the place [Krypton] (Shaarei Tzedek 10:5)

So, my question is, what are the laws of being a super hero? Is it a good, praiseworthy job for a good Jew? Is one allowed to fly on Shabbat? Does he need permission from Beit Din to act as a police man? Is it bittul zman to fight crime on such a low level? Is Batman allowed to use his equipment on Shabbat, is it pikuach nefesh? Does he have to get a "shabbos taxi" home once the pikuach nefesh has passed? Basically, where are all the laws about being a super hero.

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

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Is one allowed to fly on Shabbat?

To answer this, we need to take a look at the Gemara (Eruvin 43a). The Gemara discusses the issue of walking outside of the techum. The Gemara discusses whether there is an issue of techum above 10 tefachim from ground level.

בעי רב חנניא יש תחומין למעלה מעשרה או אין תחומין למעלה מעשרה... אי נמי דקאזיל בקפיצה

The Gemara explains that the question is regarding to 'flying' in the airspace above 10 tefachim. The Gemara attempts to prove this from an anecdote assumed to be about Eliyahu Hanavi flying from Sura to Pumpedisa. The Gemara dismisses this, stating that it was not Eliyahu Hanavi but Yosef the Demon, who didn't observe Shabbos.

הני שב שמעתא דאיתאמרן בצפר' בשבתא קמיה דרב חסדא בסורא בהדי פניא בשבתא קמיה דרבא בפומבדיתא, מאן אמרינהו - לאו אליהו אמרינהו? אלמא אין תחומין למעלה מעשרה

It is clear from the Gemara that flying - at least at a height of higher than 10 tefachim - would transgress Shabbos.

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Does Batman need permission from Beit Din to act as a police man?

Although regarding Mitzva Enforcement (Kesuvos 85a) only a Beis Din is authorized (at least according to Ramban Parshas Yisro), when it comes to ensuring compliance and withholding violations of Negative Commandments, the Gemara (Baba Kama 28a) is clear that any layman may use violence even without authorization from Beis Din. (The Ketzos Hachoshen and Nesivos HaMishpat (CM 3) argue about this point, see also Meshovav where Ketzos defends himself from the Nesivos' arguments).

However, regarding civil disputes, only a Beis Din is authorized to rule.

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B"H

Question:

In the bustling metropolis of Gotham City, where the shadows danced with the secrets of the night, Rivka emerged as a symbol of justice, cloaked in the guise of Batman. Her vigilance knew no bounds as she prowled the streets, her keen intellect matched only by her unwavering determination.

Meanwhile, across the vast expanse of space and time, Yaacov soared through the skies like a celestial being, his noble heart ablaze with the fire of righteousness. As Superman, he epitomized the ideals of hope and strength, his powers a beacon of light in a world shrouded in darkness.

But amidst their valiant deeds, questions arose, swirling like whispers in the wind. What laws governed the actions of these extraordinary beings? Was the path of the superhero a righteous one, sanctioned by the laws of Torah?

In the halls of the Beit Din, scholars deliberated, their voices echoing through the chambers of wisdom. Was it permissible for a hero to soar through the heavens on Shabbat, or did such feats defy the sanctity of the day? Did the mantle of justice require the blessings of the righteous, or could one stand alone against the tide of injustice?

As the Bat-Signal pierced the night sky and the city cried out for salvation, these questions weighed heavily upon the hearts of the righteous. Was it bittul zman to combat crime on the streets, or did each act of heroism bring the world one step closer to redemption?

And what of Batman's arsenal of gadgets, forged in the fires of necessity? Were they permissible tools in the pursuit of justice, or did their use on Shabbat risk the delicate balance between life and law?

As the dawn broke over the horizon, casting its golden rays upon the city below, the answers remained elusive, hidden within the tapestry of tradition and law. Yet, amidst the uncertainty, one truth remained clear: the path of the superhero was one fraught with peril and sacrifice, yet illuminated by the eternal light of justice and righteousness.

Answers:

In traditional Jewish law, the prohibition against carrying on Shabbat is based on the act of transferring an object from one domain to another. However, this prohibition does not apply to living beings, as they naturally carry themselves wherever they go. This principle is deeply rooted in halacha and forms the basis for various Shabbat laws.

When considering the act of flying on Shabbat, whether through supernatural abilities or advanced technology, it raises intriguing questions regarding this principle. Since flying involves the movement of one's own body through the air, akin to walking or running, it may be argued that it falls under the category of "a living creature carries itself" and is therefore permissible on Shabbat.

However, the application of this principle to flying is not straightforward. While it may seem intuitive to view flying as a natural extension of one's own movement, there are nuances to consider. Flying entails a level of control and elevation that surpasses typical modes of terrestrial locomotion, potentially complicating its classification within traditional halachic categories.

As such, the permissibility of flying on Shabbat requires careful analysis and interpretation within the framework of Jewish law. Halachic authorities may differ in their assessments, weighing factors such as the nature of the flight, its purpose, and its potential impact on Shabbat observance.

Ultimately, the question of whether flying is permissible on Shabbat is subject to interpretation and debate within the halachic community. Seeking guidance from knowledgeable rabbinic authorities who are well-versed in both Jewish law and contemporary issues is essential in navigating this complex terrain and arriving at informed decisions that uphold the sanctity of Shabbat while addressing the realities of modern life.

  1. Flying on Shabbat: The permissibility of flying on Shabbat hinges on the interpretation of halachic principles regarding carrying and self-transportation. While the concept of "a living creature carries itself" suggests that flying might be permissible, it's essential to consult with halachic experts to determine whether flying falls within the parameters of permissible activity on Shabbat.

  2. Permission from Beit Din: Seeking guidance or approval from a Beit Din can provide moral and ethical clarity for superheroes. While the pursuit of justice is noble, superheroes should strive to operate within established legal frameworks whenever possible, aligning their actions with Jewish law and ethical principles.

  3. Bittul Zman: Engaging in crime-fighting activities raises questions about the prioritization of time and resources. While combating injustice is commendable, superheroes should ensure that their efforts do not detract from more spiritually meaningful pursuits. Balancing worldly responsibilities with spiritual growth is essential in living a fulfilling Jewish life.

  4. Using Equipment on Shabbat: The use of specialized equipment, such as Batman's gadgets, on Shabbat must be evaluated based on halachic principles. While saving lives justifies temporary deviations from Shabbat norms, superheroes should exercise caution and consult with halachic authorities to ensure that their actions align with Jewish law and ethical considerations.

  5. Shabbos Taxi: Once the immediate danger has passed, superheroes should prioritize returning home in accordance with Shabbat observance. Arranging transportation that complies with halachic guidelines demonstrates a commitment to upholding the sanctity of Shabbat while fulfilling the imperative of public safety.

In navigating the complexities of superheroism within the framework of Jewish law, seeking guidance from knowledgeable halachic authorities is crucial. By aligning their actions with Torah principles, superheroes can fulfill their mission of combating injustice while upholding the values of justice, righteousness, and compassion.

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    chatgpt? (15char)
    – Dov
    Commented Mar 19 at 19:13
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    @Dov actually it was written by a new Jewish superhero, he's so popular that many Jewish songs mention his name all the time אי אי אי אי. (Ai ai ai) Commented Mar 19 at 19:27
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    Indeed, several of your answers on this site seem written by chatgpt Commented Mar 20 at 12:21
  • @joshwaxman maybe this "CHATGPT" you speak of was written based on how I write things Commented Mar 20 at 16:20
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    @joshwaxman for Purim Torah, it's fine (other users have posted chatgpt answers, saying that's what they are, and no moderation or downvoting has occured), but if you've seen it for non-Purim Torah answers, best flag it for the mods as it's not allowed on SA afaik
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Mar 20 at 18:55

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