Planet Pandora, Floating (Halelujah) Mountains

posted 7 May 2018, 09:38 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin   [ updated 7 May 2018, 10:02 ]

Where in the world is Rabbi Eli

Planet Pandora, Floating (Halelujah) Mountains

(Zhangjiajie, Henan Province, China)

When James Cameron's "Avatar" hit the big screens nearly a decade ago, innumerable peoples around the planet claimed it was made about them specifically; especially, minorities and small nations.

In case you did not see this highest-grossing film of all times, here's a 3-line synopsis.

A powerful human corporation is colonizing a lush habitable planet in order to mine precious minerals. The mining threatens the existence of a local tribe of blue-skinned humanoids called Na'vi. A remotely located human controls a genetically engineered body of a Na'vi to interact with the natives has to "do the right thing".

One measure of the film's success can be seen in the fact that adepts of nearly two dozen religions claimed the movie to have been about them specifically; from Calvinism and Hinduism, to Korean shamanistic Cheondoism and Wicca.

If you don't believe me - Google it. "Jews in Avatar movie" alone brings back nearly 3.5 million results.

Bloggers, thinkers, rabbis and political observers alike claim "Avatar" is about the Jews because 'navi' means prophet in Hebrew, the mountains are called "Praise God" in Hebrew, destruction of the tribe's holy tree alludes to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the name of the deity Na'vi is a scramble of the Tetragrammaton, a floating mountain is a reference to the Midrash of God lifting Mt Sinai over the Israelites' heads, evil foreign rulers have been trying to evict Jews from their land for thousands of years, etc.

(If you are utterly convinced by now, look up "Muslims in Avatar" and "Hindus in Avatar", to realize this argument is one-size-fits-all.)

The floating mountains that inspired the movie are in what used to be, not so long ago, one of the rather more remote and poorest corners of China. Nowadays, there is even an airport here, and tourists keep coming. Still, our groups can enjoy the occasional day of tranquility and nearly pristine tête-à-tête with nature, if you know where to look for it. Having reached an agreement with the best 5-star establishment in the area, we have an entire kitchen to ourselves to kosher and use as we deem fit.

Strictly kosher floating mountains they are, thus.

Note: I made sure to be appropriately blue for the occasion.

Our Sages established blessings for all sorts of unusual occasions.

When you see unique mountains, you should be saying the B'rachah Oseh Ma'aseh Beresheet - Blessed are You, o God, Who makes the wonders of creation.

We bring our guests here, and they say it in unison, by way of expression of their feelings rather than out of duty and obedience. Because tourists or not, Avatar or Smavatar, those mountains are an absolutely magnificent, one of a kind marvel, like nothing we've seen before or elsewhere.

PS For ye of little faith, here's a photo to dispel all doubts in the Jewish nature of the Avatar mountains.

This glass bridge, longest and tallest in the world, opened in Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon nearly 2 years ago. It is the creation of... Israeli architect Haim Dotan.

Nuu, what other nationality do you think those mountains could possibly be?

Looking forward to seeing you next week for Shabbat and Shavuot.

Shabbat Shalom,