Sunday, April 6, 2008

Moses is Dead

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.


Anonymous said...

i completely relate to your father's pov (and i am MO thru and thru -- not in any way chareidi or even black hattish). you know, as much as i loved to watch the movie as a child, and i understood full well that it was just a movie and not "tanachi," when my own children wanted to watch "prince of egypt" i felt the need to sit down and explain to them that "it was just a movie, and not tanachi! and that what they learned in school was the real deal, this was just for fun." i wouldn't even let my parents buy it for them, they had to watch it at sabba and safti's house. funny.

but as i wrote to trep, charlton heston was larger than life -- a true movie icon.

Batya said...

May he rest in peace, but I was never a fan.

Jack Steiner said...

I always liked Chuck.

mother in israel said...

1. We have a children's haggadah illustrated with scenes from that movie.

2. When I was in high school I babysat for the rabbi's son's kids. When the rabbi was honored, they needed two babysitters b/c gchildren were visiting from out of town. But the yeshiva of the out-of-town kids did not allow them to watch TTC, and my co-babysitter wanted to. So I entertained the kids in another room while she watched it. (There goes my blog post for tomorrow LOL-I'll never think of something else)

Baila said...


Of course, my father was right. I never will get that image out of my head. And my kids also watched "Prince of Egypt" and I told them the same thing you did--but that movie did not having the staying power of TTC.

It wasn't so much Heston, really, as much as the movie.

Always happy to have you stopping by.


I wojld love that hagaddah! We have Spielberg's Prince of Egypt Haggadah, sold at Judaica Plus in Cedarhurst. It's my favorite hagaddah, and I usually fight my kids for it.

Why can't you still blog about the topic tomorrow? It's okay with me.

yingerman said...

never watched it
but I aint dead yet so maybe one day

Anonymous said...

I wasn't a fan of the man but when I was 10 I loved the fil!

JJ said...

"Moses, you adorable fool!" LOL

Funny, even when I was a kid I could tell that Joshua was a hottie. I haven't seen that movie in a few years, now I've got a hankering for it!