I heard on the radio (in Hebrew, I might add) that Charlton Heston has died.
Tell the truth: how many of you, when you think of Moshe Rabaynu think of the young (and then, through the magic of the movies, the aging) Charlton Heston? Admit it. Remember him killing (smiting?) that Egyptian? Being banished by Pharaoh (Yul!) and trying to squeeze that last drop of water through his cloth canteen? And who was that narrator anyway? "Bithiya"? "Sephora"? "Dathan"? Those names weren't heard in the Klausenberg Bais Chana Yeshiva I went to!
I grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where owning a television was akin to committing--well, it was a very, very bad thing. But somehow we always had a few chasidish neighbors coming in to watch "The Ten Commandments". (How did they know it was on? Did they have a suscription to TV Guide?) Few of them had the stamina to watch the four hour spectacle, but it was fascinating to watch them be so fascinated by the images. My father, by the way, who never was a chasid, hated that we watched this movie (actually he hated the TV altogether, but that is a battle my mother definitely won); he called it "apicorsish" [or something like that] and felt it would leave us with images in our heads that we would never get rid of. Hah!
I could go on and on about that movie. The foggy Angel of Death descending on the silent city. The skinny old man about to be run over by a massive stone until Moses comes to his rescue. Pharaoh intoning, "So it shall be written, so it shall be done". The revelry around the Golden Calf. Joshua, handsome Joshua. (Even at seven years I knew that ). Lily Munster as Moses' wife,--Tsipora, or "Sephora". And of course, the parting of the sea.
Heston was very much a part of my childhood in Williamsburg. Aside from his controversial (and I personally didn't think it all that controversial) stand on the right to bear arms, you didn't hear about the typical Hollywood scandals; he died Saturday with his wife of 64 years, Lydia, by his side.
Is it a coincidence that he died right before the iconic movie is about to be aired yet again?
They don't make 'em like they used to.
Here's to "Moses" finally making it to the Promised Land.