Hidden Cultural References: He-man

I wasn’t allowed to watch cartoons much as a kid, but like any child of the ’80s, I was aware of He-man and She-ra. I thought they were the silliest names a lazy writer could create. It turns out the writer (or whoever came up with the names) was way more religiously educated/clever than I thought. Reading the Old Testament can be a dull slog; there are pages and pages (especially in Chronicles and Kings) that just name generations of people and their roles in building/supporting the Holy Temple. Occasionally there are amusing names (Jehoshephat, Jobab), but one that jumped out at me was: Heman. Heman was the head of music for the Holy Temple, and the Hebrew word for song is… Shira.

That’s right, your brain-destroying cartoons were A MULTILINGUAL BIBLICAL PUN!

I’ll post again when I find out what Skeletor means…


One thought on “Hidden Cultural References: He-man

  1. Hi Jacob,

    Glad to see you are posting with regularity now! This post was very interesting to me. I am teaching parts of Genesis at Temple Sholom as part of the Hebrew Bet curriculum and the students flip out when they find out what the names ‘mean’.

    On a slightly different topic, I was investigating the root of the word minyan. It is Mem-Nun-Hay which has to do with counting, assigning or reckoning. It is also the root of the famous writing on the wall ‘Mene Mene Tekel Ufarsin’ So…..watch out when you are davening in the morning!

    Hi to Jen


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