Are they your guide? Are they your driving force? No. they are neither. You hold no love for the All Mighty. They have nothing to do with your dreams. At least not directly. You do not actively seek glory in their name. The All Mighty burns through your veins but through whispers into your life through not through miracle and majesty directly. They speak through mother and mensch instead.
You are three. Your mother gently combs through curls, whispering fondly about ancient people. Survivors. Philosophers. Rebels. Heroes and most importantly and most often forgotten people. And while you are too young to understand the meaning and power of the words she speaks to you. That people sing in language equal parts comfort and calling. You absorb it, but your eyes and ears only for the heroes of now. Your mother takes you to a river and tells you to throw bread into it. You are to find one thing about yourself that you need to work on about yourself. Perhaps you are too smart for your age. You decide to work on not being a girl and to watch more All Might, how ironic, videos.
You are four. Your mother has realized your struggle. You succeeded at last year. People know that you are a boy. Still in Hashem’s infinite game of give and take, they give you your correct name and support. Hashem deems that you be worthy of it. You must be worth your new name and your title as the chosen. Shatters through the ground beneath your tiny feet. You lose Kaachan first. He falls and you reach out. He hates you for it. You did nothing to him. to add insult to your fresh injury the All Might sets their eyes to you and laughs. you will have no gift. you will have no quirk. Earn it. As you stand on the river bank that you watch Kaachan throw bread with uncle masaru. You cry as you throw yours. This year you will be a better friend. He’ll care about you again.
You are eight. You are crying in front of a screen. In front of All Might. Less of a man more of a myth to your shiny sobbing green eyes. The commandment and act. Two in the same. You want to be like him. You want to be him. You want to help people and make them hopeful. You want to be the next All Might. When you throw your bread away this year you clutch the notebook under your arm tighter. You document everything. Once a silly childish guide to heroism now a real tangible and powerful too designed to propel you to the top. As it hits the rushing water you wish to figure out how to mold yourself into a hero. A hero in the image of All Might.
You are thirteen. You have looked up the origin of your future profession. Pouring it into yourself. Hoping that every detail helps. You learn about the first. Long before quirks. Long before the world you live in was shaped into its current image. Superman. You look at the date stamped upon the webpage. Two hundred years since it was posted. You read his biography and his storylines. You stop there.
You are fifteen. You have been granted a miracle. All Might himself is a miracle. You do not doubt that as the man hugs you. It has been six months since you met. This year the words tikkun olam matter. It’s a concept where the act is most important. You will heal the world. You are Jewish. It’s what you were made to do. Help fix a world that needs you. Even if may not deserve you. But it is no scripture or holiday that burns the meaning into his mind.
Crumbs land in the river as memories of the past year flood your mind. You are stronger now. Stronger than you have ever been. The core of being a hero is fixing things. You are to help when you can. You start with the beach. The project itself is nowhere near complete but you are working your hardest. The change maybe gradual but it has started. All Might want you to succeed and for that you must hone the skills you have before you can work on anything else.
So you start with your mind. You dig into topics you deemed unworthy when you were younger. You start at the beginning. Superman. Instead of his story this time you read about his creation. He comes from an age without quirks, but with hope. Your eyes star into the names of the men who created him. Jewish boys. Like you. Teenagers suffering the miserable isolation and strong justice. Kal-el is a Jewish name made by Jewish people. You rest your forehead against the screen. Superman wishes to heal the world.
Tikkun olam is a simple concept. As a Jewish person it is your job to fix as much broken in his world as you can. There is no greater aspiration than to be a good person. To be one who helps, one who heals? You laugh, genuine and joyful. It’s funny how such a Jewish concept has melded into your everyday life. To someone with no real Jewish identity, you live be a commandment from the All Mighty. If they are listening, they are laughing at your confusion right now.
This year you throw the crumbs into the water with purpose. You will save people. You will make people happy. You will survive. Though the last one feels optional.
You are sixteen. You sit on the river bank, your warm hand clutched into a cool one. You have much to atone for. Much to promise. All Might have given you a gift since you last conversed with the All Mighty themself. His quirk flows through your body, crackling with light and giving you the means to propel yourself forward this time. Though his hands do push gently at your shoulders, pushing you towards a path that if you accept it will lead you to being the greatest hero who lived.
You have failed this year. You failed to keep Kaachan away from the villains. You failed to save night eye. You destroyed your arms and made your mother sob with worry that she will lose you. You watched All Might’s power wither from his body as it blooms in yours. You failed to stop iida when he left that day. Tears leak from eyes as you throw your feelings into the water. The guilt stays, the pain stays, the All Mighty has forgiven you. Perhaps they would too. You rest your head on Shouto’s shoulder. You will learn from your mistakes. You will save more people.
There have been victories this year. You have a quirk. You are in ua and you are improving at a rate you once thought impossible. You saved iida. You saved Kouta. Kaachan. You saved Eri. Your eyes turn to the boy next to you. You saved Shouto. This year you will become better. You will save more.
A thought creeps through your young mind as you and Shouto rest among the rest of the congregation. You are the youngest people above b’nai mitzvah age there. You are only beginning to form the identities not only as people or as heroes but as Jews. Perhaps one day you will be remembered alongside the stories in the torah. You are a heroes, you are Jews. It stands to reason that you might belong there.
It’s a still thing is it not? That you would become what the torah commands not because the torah wills it but because you embody who the story describes the ideal to be. You are not perfect. You must think before you act. But you will act and you will help.