Get latest articles and videos with Jewish
inspiration and insights
The greatest enemy of civilization is appeasement to evil.
Is America letting the terrorists win?
I had to be the skinniest, the prettiest, and the smartest. Otherwise, I was nothing.
Harvard’s president stops an anti-Israel boycott against SodaStream.
As a Jewish girl living in Iran I was enraged that I was forced to wear a hijab. I was determined to attain freedom.
A compendium of interesting news from the Holy Land.
News of a Jewish wizard at Hogwarts reminded me of 5 Jewish values reflected in the series of books.
Two lessons from the Sony debacle.
Why the new film is a disgrace.
How my father’s journey from Santa Claus to a gift-lugging dog in a drainpipe led me to Judaism, sort of.
A terrible accident in Israel transforms a couple's life.
Why did Judaism pose such a great threat to ancient Greece?
How to handle the explosive child.
Healthy habits for building healthy relationships.
Your bubby was right! Scientific studies reveal the medicinal benefits of chicken soup.
How to get a great relationship to come to you.
We’ve really hit it off, but there are a number of differences that concern me and do not concern her.
5 strategies for dealing with post-date stress in a healthy way.
Another instance in Jewish history when a woman saves the day.
Jacob, in assuming Esau’s mission, receives both a second wife and a second name.
Unravelling one of the most cryptic episodes of the entire Torah.
Practical and relevant insights on the weekly parsha.
Advanced-level midrashic and Kabbalistic illuminations on the weekly parsha.
Lessons, stories and discussion questions for parents and kids.
The Hanukkah battle isn’t over. We fight with light.
Candlelight burning so bright. You can’t ever take my light.
The Hanukkah Story in 8 hit songs.A short medley of pop music parodies through the ages.
Sometimes miracles happen in the darkest places.
Many Christmas songs were written by Jews. If instead they wrote their songs for Hanukkah, this is what they’d look like.
The news stories of 2014 that never made the headlines but speak volumes about the true flavor of Israeli society.
Is there a Jewish toy you think would be a good idea to create?
Nissim Black’s search for light amidst the darkness.
Examining the Jewish contribution to Western civilization. With a Chanukah tie-in.
Miracles do sometimes happen. Based on a true story. A timely Hanukkah message.
May 19, 2007
October 24, 2013 5:31 AM
The Torah is the blueprint for the creation of the world. There is a chazal that says: "הסתכל באורייתא וברא עלמא" ~ "Hashem looked into the Torah and created the world. Every single thing we need to know is in the Torah. We can learn from our Avos and Imahos as to how to take the mussar of events that occured and apply them to our current lives so we do not repeat history!!
December 8, 2009 7:10 AM
without the torah there would never have been judisim
the torah ties the jews to god iin cuture and sets a moral standard that has been woven into the jews being.it has given the jews a moral standard to live by in behaviour, education,achievment and homelife.even if he shuts his eyes to it he cant escape it.inately it remains within him always.- it gos beyond belief,-its an attachment.
December 25, 2007 4:15 PM
this is really chilling. this is literally what many of our ancestors did to stick to the words of the Holy Torah.
September 17, 2007 6:03 PM
It is who we are! It is our past, our present and our motivation for the future!
September 4, 2007 10:54 AM
Without Torah, we are almost nothing.
The Torah is our guiding "handbook". Without it, we cannot reach our potential as Jews. If we were not ready to make almost any sacrifice, to preserve our Torah, then we and our religion would not have survived this long... we would have gone the way of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc.
July 23, 2007 7:49 PM
Differences of Opinion
First off, this is a great movie with lots of lessons. I see comments about how a Jewish person (orthodox) would act in certain situations, but consider this; The movie points out the fallibility of us all. Gene Wilder's character recognizes that knowledge and piety only go so far. He and the citizens of San Francisco learn that the Rabbi took all lessor means necessary to try to stop "the bad guys", and when they could no longer be reasonable deployed, he had no alternative but to kill the man who would have killed both his friend and himself.Judaism is very unique in the fact that we debate and discuss ethics with passion, and we have the Torah as our guiding force along with thousands of years of Rabbinical opinion and debate.I think that this movie did a wonderful job of showing Jews in a positive light. And while you can debate endlessly the minutia, the movie still was solid.
July 17, 2007 6:05 PM
Torah is our gift from Hashem
When we, the Jewish people, accepted the Torah, all generations that had been and will ever be took (will take)ownership and responsibility; toward studying and living a life filled with mitzvot. Our collective "neshomas" were there with Moshe witnessing that moment. Our connection to Hashem & Torah was and continuies to be a divine blessing.
July 14, 2007 5:17 PM
our live is torah
the torah is were our wisdom is from the torah is were our bur breath comes from the torah is were our soul comes to peace from this vial world that influences us to sin .the torah gives us streangth to live in such a lifethat force us to cut the connection bettwen us and hakadosh baruch hue
July 11, 2007 11:48 AM
Because w/o Torah we are nothing.
There is nothing but G-d, ant Torah is the explanation.
June 7, 2007 9:04 PM
The Tora is a living document , a tree of life to every human being!
The Tora is relevant to every second of every minute of every hour of every day in human life.The Tora is a binding force for every Jew throughout the world. It is the common denominator amongst men. All problems can be solved by consulting the Tora.
June 7, 2007 8:06 AM
The only mainstream film
As far as I know this is the only mainstream film that has an Orthodox Jew in the starring role with Orthodox Jews shown in a positive light. However the producers obviously didn't bother consulting with a real Orthodox Jew during the making of the film as can be seen by some awful mistakes. The Rabbi should have ridden on his horse on Shabbat because his life was in danger (Pikuach Nefesh). Instead he chooses to walk in the desert (Reshut HaRabim) more than 2000 amot dragging a horse behind him! He then gets on his horse just as the sun goes over the hills. What? Shabbat ends at Sunset? Another unforgivable mistake is the fact that he is racked with guilt for saving his friend's life by killing one of the evil gang with his friend's gun. He is so drenched in guilt that he pretends not to be a Rabbi. Excuse me? What sin was he supposed to have done? He saved his friend's life against a rodef which is a mitzvah!
June 5, 2007 3:34 PM
Reply to Anonymous, 5/24/2007 9:20:00 PM
You are correct, and later in the movie the Rabbi considers himself unworthy and almost does not complete his trip because he feels he had put an object (the Torah scroll) before his friend's life. However, in this scene, it is his own life that is in question, and we should remember that in addition to the intrinsic sacredness of the Torah there is the Rabbi's committment to bring it to the community he was to join. Thus, he would have an extra-strong motivation for using all possible means to retrieve it from the Indians.
June 3, 2007 8:36 AM
No moral compass
We are fighting for our "way" because without thelaws, rituals, prayers,oral Torah, etc., a model for the foundation and structure of a moral, safe, individually aware life would be lacking. Without Torah the explanations of the mechanics of how the world was created and meant to be would be unfathomable
June 2, 2007 3:17 PM
If there was not the Torah there would be no Jews
In short......becouse Him (blessed be his name) made us a Nation by giving us the Torah. Obeyng the Torah's laws we are Jews. By holding the Mitzva of reading It every day we are constatntly aware that He is our Lord who had made us to be "light among the nations" to bring justice to the world, to show the diference between right and wrong and through our exampe try to improve the world.
May 31, 2007 9:53 AM
Because its from Hashem and only a fool would give up a present that came from the king himself!
May 24, 2007 9:20 PM
This is out of context
Although Kadosh HaShem would include Gene Wilder's actions, I wonder if preservation of life should come first, insuring there is someone left for Kadosh HaShem
May 23, 2007 9:24 PM
Because we can.
And because HE expects it. No Torah, no life, period.
May 23, 2007 2:51 PM
Without the Torah there is no such thing as the "Jewish People". It sounds like a trivial example but what do we do with a box of chocolates once the chocolates are gone? The Jewish People are the box for the Torah to be presented to the world. If the box lost its content it would have no purpose. In the same light, the box must take all the external punishment to protect what is inside. It is not as if G-d could not protect His Torah without the Jews but He chose a packaging strategy that would entice the worlds interest and help to protect the product all in one box... the "Jewish People". The Jews suffer to maintain their identity and purpose as the container, presenter, and protector of the Torah. G-d's Torah does not need the Jews in order to survive but everytime they protect it and hold it tight to them it gives those watching a small taste of the Torahs value. An items value is often reflected in its packaging.
May 22, 2007 3:07 PM
thats not our job
May 22, 2007 2:43 PM
if you dont have something worth dying for, you dont have something worth living for.
May 22, 2007 11:12 AM
I've watched this movie twice.
Anyone who can watch this beautiful and greatly under-regarded film without weeping at least twice has an empty place in the heart.PS: I'm a goy who's grateful for Torah.
May 21, 2007 11:05 PM
AJew without Torah?
We have sacrificed so much for The Torah because without it, we are nothing! We would never have become a people without Torah. We would have vanished in the desert, never to have been heard from again. If only all of our people everywhere could understand that without Torah, we still stand to lose our existence!
May 21, 2007 9:19 PM
b/c they lost lots of the information that we got and we need it to bring mashiach
jerome s. kernes,
May 21, 2007 9:11 PM
We must believe in and scrifice, if necessary, for what we believe.
Torah represents the essence of our value beliefs. Without Torah, we lack the rock upon which we claim the reality of our G-d. The commandments are manifested in it. The Golden Rule would still be our message to mankind, but, "don't take my word for it", it is there for all to know and touch.
Yair Ben Juda,
May 21, 2007 8:20 PM
Because just as Daniel withstanded fire for the sake of Tora, so we will walk over it and come home free.
May 21, 2007 8:06 PM
Risk is not the same as "to die for"
Risk and/or torture for the salvation of the Torah is not the same as an inevitable death sacrifice for it. If challanged, many, I think, would assume so degree of risk...but not known (no chance of not) death, which would be a sin.
May 21, 2007 4:58 PM
what happened next
In the movie, he does not die; they take him out of the fire and become his friend
May 21, 2007 4:14 PM
because Torah IS our life
No, we are not required to die for a book. But The Almighty does not require a father to sacrifice his son either. But Abraham did not sin when he understood that the Almighty asked him to sacrifice Yitzchak. In both cases, a willingness to do what is necessary to preserve life will be blessed. It was not just any book, but the Torah. The Torah is our life. He was not concerned only for a book, but for the lives of the families who did not have a Torah scroll or a rabbi. Was it his life he was concerned about anyway? Was a trial by fire the giving of his life or enduring suffering for the sake of heaven?
May 21, 2007 3:40 PM
SAYS IT ALL!
WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE BELIEVE IN AND WHEN IT IS INPORTANT, ALL THE TIME!
May 21, 2007 3:28 PM
If you believe you do
When Abraham was sent to a country he did not know he went , so did all peopleWho belief in Haschem do without question.
May 21, 2007 3:18 PM
Jews had learned their lesson!
The Thora has always been preserved, but sometimes in the history of the people of Israel it was neglected. One of the Kings found the Thora in the Temple in disrepair, and had the scroll read publicly. Some evil kings ignored the prophetsÂ´ warnings, and this lead to the Babylonian Captivity. Afterward, in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews learned their lesson, and since then have clung to and preserved the Word. This Christian is thankful to the Jews for their diligence in preserving the Tanach through centuries of horror.
May 21, 2007 2:35 PM
You left out the line about "no knife" I feel that the two go together, Purify soul by fire does not imply death in this context.
May 21, 2007 1:53 PM
the Torah is "The menu of life and love of God"
The Jewish people in Eastern Europe believed deeply in God and followed his guideline's and the way of life which the Torah teaches
May 21, 2007 11:04 AM
A testemony and a witness
If you saw the story, the Character didn't have to die for the Torah, however, even Moses was aware of the fact e and make choises foe ourselves, but as a testemony to the nations, when he said to God, what will thwe nations say if Israel is destroyed in the desert? The Jewish character had to also make a point that the revealed word of GOD is indeed to him more important than anybody there could comprehend, and in a situation, sometimes, the intend and meaning of an action, or words, are at issue, even beyond the exact words or argument. He certainly made the point in the story, that impressed even those who didn't believe!
May 21, 2007 10:57 AM
I thought the only three things you are supposed to give your life for in such a situation are: avodah zara (idol worship), shfichas damim (murder), and gilui arayus (illicit relations).
May 21, 2007 10:44 AM
It is obvious from watching the clip that the burning wood was not arranged like a bonfire. Wilder's character probably understood that, though "purification" would be a painful experience, it would not be life threatening. I believe he correctly gauged the risk involved in saving the Torah.
May 21, 2007 10:31 AM
WHY so great a Sacrifice for Torah?
The Jewish people have sacrificed so much for the Torah over the ages BECAUSE it is the God of the Torah in them motivating them. They did not choose HIM but HE chose them to KEEP HIS Oracles as a testimony to all mankind.
May 21, 2007 10:23 AM
Many did die rather than bow down(to other belief symbols, or because they felt divinely compelled. Entire families, in fact. Yet, a good point is raised which is that to remain alive is the only way to preserve the Torah and persevere, as many have done through many means, yet at what point the the whole point disappear. I want to see the rest of this movie. I never have, and it was one of my mother's favorites.
May 21, 2007 8:29 AM
Let's not miss the point.,
I believe that the point of this scene, and the subject that Aish is presenting, is not that Jewish people would die for a book (i.e. paper and ink) but what that Book embodies. The Torah is that which gives life, eternal life, because it teaches us about the Creator of life and what He requires of us. Torah is life. It is that which points us to the eternal One and how we can know Him; how to receive forgiveness for our sins against Him. The L-rd G-d has revealed Himself to us through the Torah. Without it, we could never know Him.Thank You.
May 21, 2007 8:09 AM
Did he really expect to die?
As I recall, they did have a religious advisor (of what stripe, don't know), for this movie. Perhaps this advisor was indeed aware of the prohibition on actually sacrificing one's life for a 'book', no matter how holy: that is why the request to 'purify your soul by fire' was made ambiguous. Perhaps Gene Wilder's character was supposed to believe he would undergo torture, but not death, to safe his one Torah? In any case, we know of instances during the Holocaust when Jews did risk their lives to save Torahs from burning buildings, etc. Surely, they were not sinning by attempting to save the physical expression of the learning which has kept our people alive until this day.
May 21, 2007 7:34 AM
Live by these words
G-d requires that we "live by His words", not to die by them. If we're dead, how can we worship Him? We can't! To sacrifice oneself in fire, isn't only idolatry but is against the very words of Him as He wrote in the Torah, that we will worship Him. We are NOT supposed to DIE for the religious observance.
May 21, 2007 4:06 AM
last bit unfair
I didnt get the last bit of dying for the torah (if that is what the big chief meant) in fire because he porobably wouldnt have to have died for it.
May 20, 2007 10:15 PM
Not one hundred percent .
The idea of Gene Wilder's character willing to sacrifice all of his worldly possessions for the Torah is very accurate in its analogy. We are expected to adhere to the Torah with such fervor so as to shed all of our physical attachments in our quest for spiritual perfection. However, it could be argued that the last element of the chief's request for the rabbi to 'purify' himself in fire as idolatry. We know that idolatry is one of the three cardinal sins that require a Jew to give up his life for. So in accordance with Halacha, Gene Wilders character should have declined the Chief's last stipulation.
May 20, 2007 3:35 PM
maybe the same reason the religion I follow does,, ...we think that seekers will find it "on their own" or by divine guidance.
Display my name?
Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.