The word hero according to the Oxford Dictionary is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. The dictionary informs us that in mythology and folklore a person of superhuman qualities and often semidivine origin, in particular one of those whose exploits and dealings with the gods were the subject of ancient Greek myths and legends.

One would think that based on the above definition that those people [I’d delete this for the same reason are unique and uncommon. Yet in both the popular media and everyday usage, we hear of sports heroes, of celebrity heroes heroic teachers, parents and such.

Is the word, “Heroes” overused, oversimplified and made ordinary to motivate and encourage us to do our best? Has this cultural transference diminished the true meaning of heroism, muted stories of bravery and extraordinary aspects of human behavior, just to make us all feel better about ourselves?

In Hebrew hero is Gibor and heroism G’vurah (related to the word gever=man).
Lag Ba’omer, the 33rd day of counting the Omer has a mythical relationship to heroism. This was the day when Bar-Kochav’s small army of rebels achieved a significant military advantage over the colonizing Roman army (between 132-136 CE) and the victorious Jewish rebels lit up bone fires on hill tops to send word of their victory.

The workshop I led on Lag Ba’omer was about the difference between Israeli and American conception of heroes and heroism

We discussed the Jewish notion of Heroes according to Pirkei Avot, the character traits of heroes and brought examples of Israeli and American heroes.

Do you have a hero?

What made that person a hero in your eyes?


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