The Jewish and cinematic musings of the Rabbi of The Reform Temple of Rockland in Upper Nyack, New York.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Passion of the Mel
Confession time: There was a time when I was a big Mel Gibson fan. I really liked Lethal Weapon, and I even paid good money to see the three follow ups with Joe Pesci and even Lethal Weapon 4 with Jet Li. I watched Mel’s version of Hamlet, though I felt he was a bit too old to play the part. I enjoyed the good hearted fun of Maverick and I would, on occasion, listen to the music of Braveheart. That all being said, I like many Jews, became increasingly uncomfortable with Mr. Gibson, especially following the release of Passion of the Christ. Though now I think I am beginning to understand why the movie was filled with so much pain and anguish. Not to reflect the death of Jesus, but instead to showcase all the pain and anguish burning within Mr. Gibson’s soul. This came even more to the forefront following Mr. Gibson’s arrest for drunk driving and his subsequent anti-Semitic tirade to the arresting officer in 2006. Mr. Gibson appears to be a deeply disturbed individual. Whether that is a result of his upbringing by his Holocaust denier father Hutton, alcohol abuse, or descent into narcissism, Mr. Gibson has demonstrated what is perhaps one of the most amazing falls from grace in recent years. Midrash teaches us that we are not supposed to rejoice in the fall of our ‘enemies.’ And in truth, to see Mr. Gibson fall so far, causes me to feel at most, sadness. Sadness for his family. Sadness for his children. Time and again, we learn if all we are filled with is hate and anger, eventually we will become consumed. I personally don’t know if there is a chance for Mr. Gibson now to resurrect his career given his latest incident of allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. But I do pray that maybe he can let go of all the hate festering inside of him towards just about everyone, and at least find some peace within his soul. And if not, he can always find refuge in South Park.
Rabbi Sharff is the Senior Rabbi for The Reform Temple of Rockland in Upper Nyack, New York. He was raised in Houston, Texas where he discovered the acoustic and electric guitar while sitting in his dorm room one day. Rabbi Sharff graduated from the University of Texas and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Sharff is the rhythm guitarist for RTR's in House Band, and he also served as the editor for Howard Salmon's z"l Comic Book Siddur.