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The Jewishness of Star Wars

Look close and find striking similarities

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 Just announced on May 4 of 2020, the newest Star Wars film will be co-written and directed by Taika David Cohen, a self-described “Polynesian Jew.”

 Most known by the name Taika Waititi, his directing credits include Thor: Ragnarok, and Jojo Rabbit, nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and won Waititi the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

But, surprise — he is only the latest in the long history of Jewish connections of the Star Wars galaxy.

In the first few minutes of the original Star Wars (1977), C-3PO and R2D2 are wandering aimlessly through the desert of Tatooine. C-3PO laments, with seemingly Jewish guilt, “We seem to be made to suffer. That’s our lot in life.” They are soon caught by diminutive robe-cloaked creatures called Jawa. Upon meeting these Jawas, C-3PO exclaims to R2D2, “Thank the Maker!” Little did he know that the desert tribe would capture him and sell him into slavery – a subtle metaphor of a popular biblical story.

The story continues: Luke Skywalker redeems the droids and intercepts a holographic message from Princess Leia via R2D2, intended for Ben Kenobi. Kenobi, the prophetic-like character, meets up with Luke to receive this message. In the process, Kenobi explains “the force” to Luke: “The force …surrounds us, it binds the galaxy together, it penetrates us.”

Does it sound a little like “Hashem is everywhere”? Here is the similarity between the force and the Jewish God – both the communal consciousness and the mastermind physical force that links and binds all of nature together.

And who else would God be speaking through, other than a prophet-like character? How else could one explain a prophet who has seeming “supernatural” powers? Take notice that the Hebrew word k’nah-vi sounds similar to its English, Kenobi, and means “like a prophet.” This is not the only Star Wars name that has a Hebrew similarity.

The word Jedi is really close to Jude, the (notorious) German word for Jew. Its appropriateness is seen if the evil dictator Darth Vader is a metaphor for Hitler, and the Stormtroopers as Nazi SS (eerily like Nazi “stormtroopers”), bent on annihilating the small band of Jedi. Those Jedi happen to also have some genetic similarities with each other (cf. Phantom Menace) and a belief in a universal Force larger than themselves.

Recall in Episode III when the Jedi were hunted down and murdered, one by one, by the Galactic Empire, mirroring that of the historical event of 37 CE, when Herod executed 46 leading members of the Sanhedrin (the Jews’ supreme religious council). 

The most esteemed of the Jedi, Yoda, is the “all-knowing” character. In Hebrew – the root for “knowing,” is pronounced “y’da.” Quite close.

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Other similarities include: Chewbacca is similar to tse’va’chah (to growl), while Anakin Skywalker’s future love, Amidala, can be translated as “My nation is poor.”

Darth Vader is a bit trickier. The word in Hebrew could be vataer (to give up). We know that Vader “gave up” the good to join the dark side.

The control panel on Darth Vader’s breastplate from Episodes V and VI bore Hebrew lettering that can be roughly translated as “His deeds will not be forgiven, until he merits.” Quite telling.

In the Force Awakens, there was one eerie scene when General Hux, in a very Hitlerian speech, stands in front of thousands of lined-up Stormtroopers, telling them how the Rebels will be finally crushed. When he finishes his speech, you see the Stormtroopers simultaneously and promptly raise their fists in the air. It’s unmistakably a galactic “seig heil” salute.

Even though the films themselves have striking Jewish references, there are many in the cast/crew from the tribe: Carrie Fisher (Leia), Frank Oz (Yoda), Harrison Ford (Solo), Jewish screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, director and writer J J Abrams, and Natalie Portman (Princess Amidala).

This probably makes Star Wars one of the Jewiest of Jewiest series of films, second to the Woody Allen oeuvre.

Dave Gordon is the managing editor of TheJ.ca. His work has appeared in more than a hundred media around the world, including all of the Toronto dailies, BBC, Washington Times, and UK Guardian.

 
 
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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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