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June 17, 2016  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Don’t watch the movie..... Read the book!

Rabbinically Speaking
Chabad of Pinellas County, Palm Harbor

Over the years in the rabbinate in this area, I have had my fair share of funny stories and interesting interactions. For some reason, people think it’s OK to accost me in Publix and share their view on the Middle East. Others just have to tell me about their religious beliefs and how they pray for me! It’s usually amusing, and I manage to extricate myself as tactfully as possible.

Sometimes, though, I am left speechless (which, if you know me, is quite rare!) People ask me questions about the Exodus, or other biblical stories, based upon what they saw in a movie! It would be amusing if it were not so tragic. Because the people who ask these questions are invariably members of the Jewish community, be they adults or children.

The tragedy is that so many of us receive our education from Hollywood. The last time I checked, even though so many of the showbiz bigwigs are Jewish, not one of them has experience and training in Jewish education.

My standard answer when people ask me if I have watched The Ten Commandments or The Prince of Egypt” is, “No, I haven’t watched the movie, but I’ve read the book!”

In all types of popular entertainment I have found that the movie adaptation rarely lives up to the intensity and quality of the book. That is certainly true of our Holy Torah and the various attempts to adapt it for the big screen.

So, now that Pesach is over, and Shavuot, the celebration of the giving of the Ten Commandments has just finished, spend some time and get acquainted with the book that inspired these blockbusters. Read the Torah, look at the commentaries that contain the age-old wisdom of our People.

It’s a great summer read!

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