The Twelve Tribes of JUSTICE!
Some friends and I have been riffing on the children of Ya’akov [Jacob] and the Justice League, a concept originally thought up by Rabbi Yossie Bloch. What twelve leaguers most fit the attributes given the brothers in the Torah [Bible] and assorted commentaries? Rabbi Josh Yutter gave this NKJV version of the blessings that Ya’akov gives the brothers on his death bed and the blessings of Moshe [Moses] to the tribes as a bit of a cheat-sheet for those unfamiliar.
As for what JLA versions, any member is fair game, but focus came first on the Big Seven.
Here are some of the ones we have so far:
The firstborn, Reuven [Reuben] should totally be the leader, yet is not. The temptation to call him Superman is there, but I can’t see Superman engaging in the episode of the Dudaim or the whole “moving his dad’s bed” thing. In the blessings, he is called “unsubstantial” and “like water”. With that and his role in the sale of Yoseph [Joseph], we went with The Martian Manhunter – who along with having density powers, is technically the first Silver Age DC character, even if The Flash gets all the love. One more obscure thought was that he could be Triumph: should be leader, passed over because he messed up.
Usually paired with Levi, Shimon [Simeon] is a warrior, somewhat brash. Additionally, Rabbi Bloch pointing out the reference to archery in Gen. 49:23, meaning we just had to go with with Green Arrow. Plus, there’s the whole rescuing “sister” Dina from captivity, where she was raped. How very “Longbow Hunters”.
Levi is closely tied with Shimon, who he has a special adventure with. His descendants wear special uniforms, are part of their own sub-group, and are tied in with mystical gems. How could he not be Green Lantern?
We had some dispute on Yehuda [Judah] As having the kingship role, one can lazily slap Aquaman in there (or Geo-Force, if you want to be obscure). Superman is also an option. The story of Tamar though, feels like something Frank Miller would write, so I’m all for Batman. Except Batman fits the blessing of Binyomen [Benjamin] better. One person countered Yehuda as Batman and Binyomen as Nightwing. Rabbi Bloch found a better fit, that I’ll get back to.
We are taught that Yisachar [Issachar] is studios and industrious. I always thought he came off like a bit of a nerd. As such, Blue Beetle comes to mind right away. That’s not meant to slight – as my 12 year old once said “We do NOT disrespect Ted Kord in this house!”
Zevulon [Zebulon] is said to have ties to the sea, and to have command of a vast number of warriors. That should be enough to make him Aquaman, but throw in that Jonah was from that tribe, and the deal is sealed.
Dan was a stumper until Rabbi Yutter came up with Doctor Fate. Rabbi Bloch’s summary of this was “Definitely, as Dan brings a mystical object out of Egypt, his only vulnerability is his wife, and if you bare his head–he loses his power.” For those not in the know, Shimshon [Samson] was from the tribe of Dan.
The easiest by far was Naftali [Naphtali]. Called swift, he’s clearly The Flash.
When you read that Gad (“crouches like a lioness, then tears off the arm and head”, it’s next to impossible to not think of the modern takes on Wonder Woman. Yes, that’s right. We gender swapped. We’re cads.
Asher is said to be oil rich and contained in brass and iron. This gives us the options of Steel, Cyborg, August General In Iron, and probably a few more armored Leaguers who slip my mind. However, as my friends and I are big JLI fans, we went with Rocket Red.
Yosef [Joseph] was almost as easy as Naftali – Egyptian prince, cut off from his people, only one who works in partnership with his wife – clearly, we’re talking Hawkman. Don’t ask me which Hawkman – I refuse to debate continuity. This makes his wife, Asnat [Asnath] out to be Hawkgirl/woman. The question, which of Joseph’s kids is the Silver Scarab?
Finally, we have Binyomen [ Benjamin]. Binyomen spent his childhood a loaner, the only one of the brothers with no mother and no sibling (that he knew of). He was a mighty warrior who was the last of his kind. Clearly, Binyomen is Superman. There’s also the Yehudah tribal connection for some World’s Finest action.
We also came up with roles for some of the other biblical personages in the narrative
Chushan Ben Dan, the deaf-mute child of Dan who is traditionally said to have decapitated his great uncle Esav [Esau] in a fit of rage, is Guy Gardner. Serach Bat Asher, the daughter of Asher who let’s Yaakov know that Yosef is alive, gets to be Black Canary.
We had some dispute on Dina, the sister of Shimon and Levy and the only named female sibling. My original temptation, what with the name and the assault, was to go with Black Canary. However, I decided to be more upbeat and go with Booster Gold, because Dina was said to “go out among the people”, something that sounds very Booster-y.
Then my friend Daniel Scheide thought of something I did not. Rape victim, not an official team member but kind of sort of was, becomes a footnote in the tale of revenge for what happened to her, and then is not mentioned again. Clearly, Dina is Sue Dibney. I confess that this is perfect, and that I did not think of this because I am not a horrible person.
I ask the gentle readers of WWTT – do you agree or disagree? Do you have suggestions?