"As imagined by Spielberg and Kushner, Lincoln’s Lincoln is the ultimate mensch. He is a skilled natural psychologist, an interpreter of dreams, and a man blessed with an extraordinarily clever and subtle legal mind. A master storyteller who speaks in parables and employs slyly self-deprecating humor, he is a small 'd' democrat glad to converse with anyone, willing to shoulder the solitary burden of historical tragedy, and, although capable of righteous wrath, ruled by compassion for all."
Hoberman then goes on to trace how the Great Emancipator -- should we call him the Great Oy-mancipator in this case? Sure, why not -- was championed and exalted almost immediately after his death by American Jews who recognized a modern day Moses in his story. Like that founder of the Jewish faith, Hoberman says, Lincoln was a man who "successfully led the oppressed out of bondage but was unable himself to enter the Promised Land." Using excerpts from historical speeches, he connects the history of American Judaism with Lincoln hero worship.
I confess when I watched "Lincoln" last week, none of this struck me -- but reading Hoberman's piece, it now feels facepalmingly obvious. That's good film criticism for you -- it goes straight-up Old Testament on you.
Read more of "Avraham Lincoln Avinu."