Shabbat Greetings from Rabbi David Holtz – May 31, 2014

Rabbi David 11“Noah,” one of several “biblical blockbusters” to come out this year, has several things in common with Cecil B. DeMille’s classic of the genre, “The Ten Commandments.”  Both use cutting-edge special effects, both add a completely invented love story to the narrative, and both demonstrate a surprising familiarity with rabbinic interpretation and midrash. But where “The Ten Commandments” is generally content to illustrate the drama and the lessons present in the biblical text, “Noah” develops some themes that are only hinted at, or even absent from, the original, such as environmentalism and the question of humanity’s place in the world.  In addition, unlike the story of the Exodus, in the Noah story there is no speaking in the biblical text, other than God’s command to Noah to build the ark.  So the screenwriter of “Noah” had the problem – and the freedom – of completely inventing the entire dialogue.  And fascinatingly, in this movie, God is the only one who does not get a speaking part.  I hope you’ll join me tonight at services for a longer discussion of the movie, its backstory, and its contribution to the already large body of commentary on the story of the Flood.

Shalom u’vracha!

(Peace & Blessings!)

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