By Ushi Derman for Beit Hatfutsot, Museum of the Jewish People
You can tell a lot about religions by their archetypal protagonist. Generally speaking, Christianity is fond of pure, untarnished guys, those who turn their other cheek. The Muslims adore men who sacrifice their lives to reach paradise, whereas the Buddhists respect he who can live an entire life doing one thing – avoiding. Avoiding over eating, uninhibited sex, alcohol and drugs, and life in general.
And Judaism? Well, it certainly resents the character of the agonized martyr. Jewish protagonists are deliberately portrayed full of flaws, bursting with drives and passions, just the opposite of saints. Abraham is manipulative, Isaac is limp, Jacob is hypocritical, Moses stutters, Joseph is arrogant and vindictive, Samson is impulsive and Salomon is a hedonist.