A Serious Man (2009) Script





All right. Hold still now.

Mmm-hmm. Yes.

Well... Oh, sorry.

No, thanks.

Well, you're in good health.

So how's Judith and the kids?

Good. Everyone's good, you know.

Danny must be, what? About to be bar mitzvahed?

Two weeks.

Well, mazel tov!

They grow up fast, don't they?



Yeah, you put the...

That's right, you put the...

LARRY: You following this?



This part is exciting.

So, am I right?

So, okay So...

So, if that's that, then we can do this.

And that's Schrödinger's Paradox, right?

Is the cat dead?

Or is the cat not dead?

Messages, Professor Gopnik.

Thank you, Natalie.

Oh, Clive, come in.

So, what can I do for you?

CLIVE: Dr Gopnik, I believe the results...

...of the physics midterm were unjust.

Uh-huh? How so?

I received unsatisfactory grade.

In fact, F, the failing grade.

Yes. You failed the midterm. That's accurate.

Yes, but that is not just.

I was unaware to be examined on the mathematics.

Well, you can't do physics without mathematics, really, can you?

If I receive the failing grade, I lose my scholarship, ...and I feel shame.

I understand the physics. I understand the dead cat.

But you can't really understand the physics...

...without understanding the math.

The math tells how it really works That's the real thing.

The stories I give you in class are just illustrative.

They're like fables, say, to help give you a picture.

I mean...

Even I don't understand the dead cat.

The math is how it really works.

Very difficult.

Very difficult.

Well, I'm sorry, but I...

What do you propose?

Passing grade. No, no.

Or perhaps I can take the midterm again.

I know now it cover the mathematics.

Well, the other students wouldn't like that, would they?

If one student gets to retake the test until he gets a grade he likes?

Secret test No...

Hush-hush. No.

That's just not workable.

I'm afraid we'll just have to bite the bullet on this thing, Clive...

Very troubling.

Very troubling.

ON PHONE: Sy Ableman.

Hello, Sy Larry Gopnik.

Larry. How are you, my friend?

Good How you been, Sy?

Fine Can we talk, Larry?

What? You... Uh...

Hello? Larry?

Call back!


That was Sy Ableman.

He said he got disconnected.

ARTHUR: Out in a minute.

I gotta wash my hair. I'm going out tonight.

ARTHUR: I'll be out in a minute.

Jesus Christ!

Why is Uncle Arthur always in the bathroom?

He has to drain his sebaceous cyst. You know that.

Will you set the table?

Why can't he do it in the basement or out in the garage?

I had 20 bucks in it, too. Inside the case.

Twenty bucks? How come?

Bought a lid from Mike Fagle a couple of weeks ago.

Still owed him 20.

He already gave you the pot?

Yeah. But a couple of weeks ago, my funding got cut off.

Fagle said he'd pound the crap out of me if I didn't pay up.

What funding got cut off? Where do you get your money?

What happened?

Rabbi Turchik took his radio Had money in it.

That fucker!

Yeah. I think he said he was confiscating it.

He's a fucker. Where do you get your money?

Mike Fagle's gonna kick his ass.

Last week he pounded the crap out of Seth Seddlemeyer.

He's a fucker!

Fagle or Seth Seddlemeyer? They're both fuckers!

ARTHUR: Out in a minute!

Are you still in there?

ARTHUR: Yeah, I'll be out in a minute!


ARTHUR: Yeah? Dinner!

ARTHUR: Okay, out in a minute!

We should wait.

Are you kidding?

Mr. Brandt keeps mowing part of our lawn.

Does that matter?


JUDITH: Is it important?

It's just odd.

Mom, how long is Uncle Arthur staying with us?

JUDITH: Ask your father.



Did you talk to Sy?


Sy Ableman That's right, he called But I...

You didn't talk to him? No.

You know the problems that you and I have been having?


Well, Sy and I have become very close.

In short, I think it's time that we start talking about a divorce.

Sy Ableman?

This is not about Sy.

You mentioned Sy!

Don't twist my words, Larry.

A divorce? What have I done? I haven't done anything.

Larry, don't be a child.

You haven't done anything. I haven't done anything.

Yes! Yes, we haven't done anything.

And I'm probably about to get tenure.

Nevertheless, there have been problems, as you know...

Well... ...and things have changed.

And then, Sy Ableman.

Sy has come into my life, and I...

Come into your... What does that mean? You barely know him.

Oh, please We've known the Ablemans for 15 years, Larry!

Yes, but you said we hadn't done anything.

I haven't done anything.

This is not some flashy fling, Larry.

This is not about woopsy-doopsy.

Sy Ableman?

ARTHUR: I'll be out in a minute! SARAH: Oh, Jesus Christ!

Look, I didn't know any other way of breaking it to you...

...except to just tell you and treat you like an adult.

Is that so wrong?

Where do I sleep?

What? Arthur's on the couch.

Look, Sy feels that we should...

Esther is barely cold!

Esther died three years ago, ...and it was a loveless marriage.

Sy wants a get.

A what? A ritual divorce.

He says it's very important.

Without a gett, I'm an aguna.

A what?

What are you talking about?

You always act so surprised.

I have begged you to see the Rabbi.

Messages, Professor Gopnik.

Yes, thanks for coming, Clive. Have a seat.

We had, I think, a good talk the other day, ...but you left something... I didn't leave it.

Well, you don't even know what I was going to say.

I didn't leave anything.

I'm not missing anything.

I know where everything is.

Well then, Clive...

Where did this come from?

This is here, isn't it?

Yes, sir. That is there.

This is not nothing.

This is something.

Yes. That is something.

What is it? You know what it is, I believe.

And you know I can't keep it, Clive. Yes, sir.

I'll have to pass it on to Professor Finkle, ...along with my suspicions about where it came from.

Actions have consequences.

Yes. Often.

No, always! Actions always have consequences!

In this office, actions have consequences.

Yes, sir. Not just physics, ...morally. Yes.

And we both know about your actions.

No, sir. I know about my actions.

I can interpret, Clive I know what you meant me to understand.

Meer sir my sir.

"Meer sir my sir"?

Mere surmise, sir.

Very uncertain.

You little brat fucker!

You snuck 20 bucks out of my drawer!

Studying Torah, asshole.

You little brat! I'm telling Dad!

You gonna tell him you've been sneaking it out of his wallet?

You know what I'm gonna do, you little brat, if you don't give it back?


DANNY: Dad, you've gotta fix the aerial.

Hello, Larry. Have you thought about a lawyer?

DANNY: Dad! Honey, please!

We're not getting channel four at all.

Can we discuss it later?

I can't get F Troop.

Larry, the children know.

Do you think this is some secret?

Do you think this is something we're going to keep quiet?

Dad, Uncle Arthur is in the bathroom again, ...and I'm going to the Hole at 8:00.

ARTHUR: Out in a minute! Ow! Stop!

She keeps doing that! What's going on?



What are you doing?

Working on the Mentaculus.

Any luck, um, ...looking for an apartment?


Sy. Good to see you, Larry.

I'll get Judith.

No, listen, actually, I'm here to see you, if I might.

Such a thing Such a thing.

Shall we go in the kitchen?

You know, Larry, the way we handle ourselves in this situation, ...so important.

Uh-huh? Absolutely.

Judith told me that she broke the news to you, ...and she said that you were very adult.

Did she? Absolutely.

The respect she has for you...

Yes? Do you drink wine?

Because this is an incredible bottle.

This is not Mogen David, Larry.

This is a wine A Bordeaux.

You know, Sy... Open it.

Let it breathe. Ten minutes.

Letting it breathe, so important.

Thanks, Sy, but I'm not...

Listen, I insist, Larry. There's no cause for discomfort.

I'd be uncomfortable if you didn't take it.

Larry, listen. These are signs.

Tokens, Larry.

I'm just... I'm not ungrateful.

I just don't know a lot about wine, ...and given our... It's okay.

...respective... It's okay.

Larry, we're going to be fine.

Want some of this, fucker?


Would you read this? Tell me what you think?


Boy! You should have worn a hat.

MR. BRANDT: Let's see some hustle, Mitch.

ARLEN: Larry?

Hi, Arlen.

Larry, I feel that as head of the tenure committee, I should tell you this.

Though it should be no cause for concern, and you should not at all be worried.


But I feel I should mention it, ...even though it will carry no weight in our decision...

...on whether or not to grant you tenure.

So again, no cause for concern.

Okay, Arlen Give what any weight?


We've received a number of letters...

...denigrating you and urging us not to...

Not to grant you tenure.

From who?

Well, they're anonymous, so we dismiss them completely.

Well, what do they say?

Well, they make allegations...

Well, allegations... Assertions.

And though we give them no credence at all, Larry.

Well, I'm not really at liberty...

...to discuss the specifics of the committee's deliberations.

But I think you're saying these won't play any part in your deliberations?

None whatsoever.

So what are they?

Moral turpitude, you could say.

Uh-huh. Can I ask? Are they...

Are they idiomatic? Hmm?

The reason I ask, I have a Korean student. South Korean.

A disgruntled South Korean, and I meant to talk to you about this...

Oh, no, no They're competently, even eloquently written.

A native English speaker. There's no question about that.

Uh-huh. Let me reiterate.

No cause for concern.

I only speak because I would feel odd concealing it.

Yes. Yeah.

Best to Judith.

I gotta get my radio back.

Maybe the fucker lodged it up his fucking asshole.

I gotta get it back, or Mike Fagle's gonna pound the crap out of me.

Way up his asshole.

Good afternoon.

Go scrub up, Mitch.

Been hunting?

Is that a...

It's gonna be a boat shed.


That's great.

Mr. Brandt... I said scrub up, Mitch!

Isn't this a school day?

I took him out of school today so he could hunt with his dad.

Uh, Mr Brandt, ...that's just about at the property line there.

I don't think we're supposed to get...

...within, what, 10 feet... Property line's the poplar.

The... Poplar.

Well, even if it is, you're just about over it. Measure.

I don't have to measure, you can tell it's... Line's the poplar.

What's going on?


JUDITH: Larry? Yeah?

Did you go to Sieglestein Schlutz?

LARRY: No, I... Not yet.


Appointment Monday.

Where are you going?

I'm going to the Hole.

What? At 5:00?

We're stopping at Laurie Kipperstein's house so I can wash my hair.

Hi, Mr Gopnik.

You can't wash it here? Uncle Arthur's in the bathroom.

ARTHUR: I'll be out in a minute!

JUDITH: Are you ready? Huh?

We're meeting Sy at Embers. I am?

Both of us. I told you, Larry.


How are you?


Hello, Judith.

Hello, Sy.

Larry, I want to thank you for coming.

It's so important that we be able to discuss these things.

I'm happy to come to Embers, Sy.

But I'm thinking, really, maybe it's best to leave...

...these discussions to the lawyers.

Of course Legal matters, you let the lawyers discuss.

You don't mix apples and oranges.

I have begged you to see the lawyer.

I told you, I'm going Monday.

Monday is timely. This is not...

Please, Embers is not the forum for legalities You're so right.

No, Judith and I wanted merely to discuss, uh, ...practicalities. Living arrangements.

After all, this is an issue where no one is at odds.

Living arrangements?

I think we all agree that the children...

...not being contaminated with the tension, ...the most important.

We shouldn't put the kids in the middle of this, Larry.

The kids aren't...

I'm saying "we." I'm not pointing fingers.

No one is playing the blame game, Larry.

I didn't say anyone was.

Well, let's not play "He Said, She Said," either.

I wasn't! I... All right. Look, look, look.

Let's just take a step back and we can diffuse the situation.

You know, Larry, sometimes I find that...

...if I count to 10...

One, ...two, ...three, ...four...

Or silently.

Really, to keep things on an even keel...

...leading up to Danny's bar mitzvah...

A child's bar mitzvah, Larry.

Sy and I think it's best if you move out of the house.

Move out?

Well, it makes eminent sense. Things can't continue as they...

Move out? Where would I go?

Well, for instance, the Jolly Roger is quite livable.

It's not expensive.

The rooms are eminently habitable.

This would allow you to visit the kids.

There's convenience in its favor They've got a pool.

Wouldn't it make more sense for you to move in with Sy?


Larry, you... You are jesting.

I think, really, the Jolly Roger...

...is the appropriate course of action.

SARAH: Listen here, ...you little fucker, I want my money!

DANNY: Stop it! I'm gonna get it!

SARAH: Give it back!

You owe me 20 bucks, you little shit!

Don't worry about it! Give it, brat fucker!

I'm gonna get it! I'm gonna get it! Brat! Fucker!

What's going on? SARAH: Nothing.

What was that? Nothing.

How's the Torah portion coming?

Can you maybe use the hi-fi?

What? Can I borrow this?

I'm taking some stuff to, you know, the Jolly Roger.

SARAH: Dad! Sure, Dad.

SARAH: Dad! Chinese guy!

Culture clash.

Culture clash.

With all respect, Mr. Park, I don't think it's that.

Yes. No, ...it would be a culture clash if it were the custom in your land...

...to bribe people for grades.


So, you're saying it is the custom?

No, this is defamation. Ground for lawsuit.

Let me get this straight.

You're threatening to sue me for defaming your son?


But it would... Is this man bothering you?

Is he bothering me? No.

I, uh...

See, look...

If it were defamation, there would have to be...

...someone I was defaming him to, or I...

All right, let's keep it simple.

I could pretend the money never appeared That's not defaming anyone.

Yes. And passing grade.

Passing grade? Yes.

Or you'll sue me?

For taking money.

So he did leave the money?

This is defamation!

It doesn't make sense. Either he left the money or he didn't.

Please. Accept the mystery.

RONNIE: Give me that, fucker.

LARRY: He's very good with numbers.

I think his social skills have held him back.

Such a sweet man, though.

Arthur has a good heart.

And he never complains, unlike me.

Sometimes I don't give him enough credit.

He tried to tell me about this thing he's working on, this...

The Mentaculus.

He says it's a probability map of the universe.

Does he go out socially at all?

He tries. He's been going to the singles mixers at Hillel House.

I should talk. I'm not doing any better.

How is Judith?

Fine. She's fine.

Sometimes these things just aren't meant to be.

And it can take a while before you feel what was always there.

For better or worse. I never felt it!

It was a bolt from the blue.

What does that mean?

Everything that I thought was one way turns out to be another.

Then, it's an opportunity to learn how things really are.

I don't mean to sound glib.

It's not always easy deciphering what God is trying to tell you, ...but it's not something you have to figure out all by yourself.

We're Jews.

We've got that well of tradition to draw on, to help us understand.

When we're puzzled, we have all the stories...

...that have been handed down from people who had the same problems.

Have you talked to Rabbi Nachtner?

Why not see him?

What's the Rabbi gonna tell me?

If I knew, I'd be the Rabbi.

The air out here is magnificent.

I'm telling you, if someone could bottle this air, ...they'd make a million dollars.

Hello, Larry. Good to see you.

Oh. Rabbi Scott.

I thought I was going to see Rabbi Nachtner.

He was called away on an etz monim.

Ruth Brynn's mother is in the hospital and she isn't doing well.

Rabbi Nachtner asked me to cover for him. Come on in.

And she wants a gett.

A what?

She wants a... Oh, a gett.

Uh-huh. Sure.

I feel like the carpet's been yanked out from under me.

I don't know which end is up.

I'm not even sure how to react.

I'm too confused.

What reasons did she give for the rupture?

She didn't give reasons Just that, ...you know, things haven't been going well.

And is that true?

I guess. I don't know.

She's usually right about these things.

I was hoping that Rabbi Nachtner could...

That he would... He would... Yes?

Well, with the benefit of his life experience.

No offense.

No, of course not I am the junior rabbi.

And it's true, the point of view of somebody who's older...

...and perhaps had similar problems might be more valid.

And you should see the senior rabbi as well, by all means.

Or even Marshak, ...if you can get in.

He's quite busy, but maybe...

Can I share something with you?

Because I, too, have had the feeling of losing track...

...of Hashem, which is the problem here.

I, too, have forgotten how to see him in the world, ...and when that happens, you think, "Well, if I can't see him, he isn't there. He's gone."

But that's not the case.

You just need to remember how to see him.

Am I right? I mean...

The parking lot here.

Not much to see.

But if you imagine yourself a visitor, ...somebody who isn't familiar with these autos and such, ...somebody still with the capacity for wonder.

Someone with a fresh perspective.

That's what it is, Larry.

Because with the right perspective, ...you can see Hashem, you know, reaching into the world.

He is in the world, not just in shul.

It sounds to me like you're looking at the world, looking at your wife, ...through tired eyes.

It sounds like she's become a sort of thing...

A problem.

A thing.

She is seeing Sy Ableman.

Oh. They're planning...

That's why they want the gett.

Oh I'm sorry.

It was his idea.

Well, they do need a gett to remarry in the faith.

But... This is life.

You have to see these things as expressions of God's will.

You don't have to like it, of course.

The boss isn't always right, but he's always the boss.

That's right!

Things aren't so bad.

Look at the parking lot, Larry.

Just look at that parking lot.

Are we eating already?

Sarah's going out.

Ow! Cut it out!

What's going on?

Isn't Dad eating?

JUDITH: He's at the Jolly Roger.

Oh, yeah.

How are you, Larry?

Jesus, I am so sorry...

...to be seeing you under these circumstances. Oh, well...

I always thought you and Judy were rock solid.

This is so terrible, Larry. This is devastating.

Well, you know, the way I look at it, ...it's an opportunity for me to really sit down and figure things out...

...and look at the world afresh instead of just, you know, ...settling for the routine, tired old way of looking at things.


I don't know, maybe not.

Well, legally, I have to warn you, ...it's never easy for the husband.

Unless, of course, there's some question...

...of the wife having violated the marriage contract?

Oh, no, no Nothing like that.

Although she is planning to marry Sy Ableman, but they...

Sy Ableman!

Yes. But they... Esther is barely cold!

She passed three years ago.

Well... Still, this changes the complexion, Larry.

Sy Ableman.

Not in the sense that... T here hasn't been hanky-panky.

To my knowledge.

Oh? No I'm fairly certain this is not an issue.

And in fact, Judith wants a gett.

A what?

A ritual divorce.

Oh. So that they can remarry in the faith.

Uh-huh. Yeah, sure, uh...

Well, not really a legal issue.

Okay, um...

Good. Good.


On the other thing, the neighbor's property line, I've asked Solomon Schlutz to take a look.

There's very little to do with real estate that'll get by Sol.

Okay Good How do you...

I guess I'm a little worried.

How do you... I have money pressures...

Our fee structure? We bill by the hour.

Dave Sieglestein and Solomon Schlutz bill at 110.

The associates, me, for instance, bill at...

Call for Mr Gopnik Danny at home.

You can take it here.



DANNY: Hey, Dad. Are you all right?

Are you all...

F Troop is fuzzy.


F Troop is still fuzzy.

Dad? Is everything okay?

LARRY: Clive?


You little bastard! You gonna send your mother next?

Little bastard! I want to see you!

Hold on.

Professor Gopnik, it's Dick Dutton again.

Dick Dutton.


Hello, Mr Gopnik?

This is Dick Dutton from the Columbia Record Club.

I'm calling because it's now four months, ...and we have yet to receive your first payment.

There's some mistake.

I'm not a member of the Columbian Record Club.

Sir, you are Lawrence Gopnik of 8419 Fern Hill Road?

No, I live at the Jolly Roger.

Excuse me?

No, I...

Well, yes, okay.

Yes, you are Lawrence Gopnik? Okay.

"Okay" means...

Okay, yes, Lawrence Gopnik, yes.

Okay, well, you received your 12 introductory albums, ...and you've been receiving the monthly main selection for four months now...

The monthly main selection? Is that a record?

I didn't ask for any records.

To receive the monthly main selection, you do nothing. You...

That's right. I haven't done anything.

Yes, that's why you received the monthly main selection.

But... The last one was Santana Abraxas. You...

I didn't ask for Santana Abraxas.

You request the main selection...

...at the retail price by doing nothing.

It's automatically mailed to you, ...plus shipping and handling.

You're about to receive... I can't afford a new record every month!

I haven't asked...

You're about to get Cosmo's Factory, sir.

The June main selection.

Look, look, something is very wrong!

I don't want Santana Abraxas.

I've just been in a terrible auto accident.

I'm sorry, sir.

Well, thank you. But I...

Are you okay?

Yes, yes. No one was hurt.

Okay. Good.

Well, you had 14 days to listen to Santana Abraxas.

Sir? Look...

I didn't ask for Santana Abraxas, I didn't listen to Santana Abraxas, I didn't do anything!

Sir! Your son. Mr. Gopnik...

He says it's urgent.

We can't make you listen to the record...

Okay, okay, okay... We provide...

Okay, I have to call you back.

This is... I'm sorry. No, no, Mr. Gopnik, please...

Danny? DANNY: Yeah. Listen, Dad...

Did you join the Columbia Record Club?

Danny? Um...

Danny, this is completely unacceptable. I can't afford to...

Okay, Dad, but you gotta come home.

Is it F Troop?

No, Mom's real upset.



Does this mean I can't go to the Hole tonight?

Does what mean? What happened?

Oh, Sy Ableman, he died in a car crash.

DANNY: Hey, Dad.


So you're coming back home?

Can you fix the aerial?


It's still, you know...

She seems to be asking an awful lot.

But then... I don't know.

Somebody has to pay for Sy's funeral.


His own estate is in probate, ...but why does it have to be me?

Or is it wrong to complain?

Judy says it is.

But I'm so strapped for cash right now, ...carrying the mortgage, and paying for the Jolly Roger, ...and I wrecked the car, and Danny's bar mitzvah coming up, I...

Something like this, there's never a good time.

I don't know where it all leaves me.

Sy's death.

Obviously, it's not going to go back like it was.


Would you even want that, Larry? No, I...

Well, yeah. Sometimes.


I don't know. I guess...

...the honest answer is, I don't know.

What was my life before? Not what I thought it was.

So what does it all mean?

What is Hashem trying to tell me, ...making me pay for Sy Ableman's funeral?

Mmm. And did I tell you...

I had a car accident the same time Sy had his?

The same instant, for all I know. Mmm.

Is Hashem trying to tell me that Sy Ableman is me?

Or that we are all one or something?

How does God speak to us?

It's a good question.

You know Lee Sussman.

Dr Sussman? I think I... Yeah.

Did he ever tell you about the goy's teeth?

No Uh, what goy?

So, Lee is at work one day.

You know, he has the orthodontic practice there at Great Bear.

He's making a plaster mold.

It's for corrective bridgework in the mouth of one of his patents, Russell Krauss.

The mold dries, and Lee is examining it one day...

...before fabricating an appliance.

He notices something unusual.

There appears to be something engraved...

...on the inside of the patent�s lower incisors.

Hey vav shin yud ayin nun yud.


"Help me. Save me."

This, in a goy's mouth, Larry.

He calls the goy back...

...on the pretense of needling additional measurements for the appliance.

"How are you?"

"Noticed any other problems with your teeth?"


There it is.


"Help me."

Son of a gun.

Sussman goes home.

Can Sussman eat? Sussman can't eat.

Can Sussman sleep? Sussman can't sleep.

Sussman looks at the molds of his other patents, ...goy and Jew alike, ...seeking other messages. He finds none.

He looks In his own mouth.


He looks in his wife's mouth.


But Sussman is an educated man.

Not the world's greatest sage, maybe.

No Rabbi Marshak.

But he knows a thing or two about the Zohar and the Kabbalah.

He knows that every Hebrew letter has its numeric equivalent.

8- 4-5-4-4-7-3 Seven digits. A phone number, maybe?

"Hello? Do you know a goy named Krauss, Russell Krauss?"


"Where have I called?"

"The Red Owl in Bloomington? Thanks so much."

He goes.

It's a Red Owl Groceries, what have you.

Sussman goes home What does it mean?

He has to find out if he is ever to sleep again.

He goes to see...

...the Rabbi Nachtner.

He comes In, he sits right where you're sitting, right now.

"What does it mean, Rabbi?"

"Is it a sign from Hashem? 'Help me'."

"I, Sussman, should be doing something to help this goy."

"Doing what? The teeth don't say."

"Or maybe I'm supposed to help people generally lead a more righteous life?"

"Is the answer in Kabbalah? In Torah?"

"Or is there even a question?"

"Tell me, Rabbi, what can such a sign..."


So? What did you tell him?



Is it relevant?

Well, isn't that why you're telling me?


Nachtner says, "Look."

"The teeth, we don't know..."

"A sign from Hashem? Don't know."

"Helping others?"

"Couldn't hurt."

No, no, but who put it there?

Was it for him, Sussman? Or for whoever found it? Or for just... For, for...

We can't know everything.

It sounds like you don't know anything!

Why even tell me the story?

First I should tell you, then I shouldn't.

What happened to Sussman?

What would happen? Not much.

He went back to work.

For a while, he checked every patent�s teeth for new messages.

He didn�t find any.

In time, he found he stopped checking.

He returned to life.

These questions that are bothering you, Larry, ...maybe they're like a toothache.

Feel them for a while, then they go away.

I don't want it to just go away! I want an answer!

Sure We all want the answer.

Hashem doesn't owe us the answer, Larry.

Hashem doesn't owe us anything.

The obligation runs the other way.

Why does he make us feel the questions...

...if he's not going to give us any answers?

He hasn't told me.

And what happened to the goy?

The goy?

Who cares?

NACHTNER: Sy Ableman was a serious man.

Sy Ableman was a man devoted to his community.

To Torah study To his beloved wife, Esther, ...until three years ago she passed, ...and to his duty, as he saw it.

Where does such a man go?

A tzadik. Who knows, maybe even a lamed vavnik.

A man beloved by all.

A man who despised the frivolous.

Could such a serious man simply...


We speak of olam ha-ba, the world to come.

Not heaven.

Not what the gentiles think of as afterlife.

"Olam ha-ba." What is olam ha-ba?

Where is olam ha-ba?

Well, it is not a geographic place, certainly.

Like Canada.

Nor is it the Eretz zavat chalav udvash, ...the land flowing with milk and honey.

For we are not promised a personal reward.

A gold star.

A first-class VIP lounge where we get milk and cookies to eternity.

Olam ha-ba is in the bosom of Abraham.

Arthur Gopnik?

Are you Arthur Gopnik?

I'm Lawrence Gopnik.

Do you go by the name Arthur Gopnik?


Is that Arthur Gopnik?

Can you tell me what's going on? We're sitting shiva here.

You're what?

A religious observance.

We're bereaved.

Who died?

My wife's, uh...

It's a long story.

Look, you tell Gopnik, Arthur Gopnik, he's breaking the law.

We're not arresting him now, but next time we will.

Gambling's against the law in this state That's just the way it is.

All right. Go back to your thing.

Sorry, sir.

Dad, we get channel four now, but not channel seven.

Arthur, how could you do that to this family?

On Sy's... It's hardly a crime, I mean, nobody got hurt.

That doesn't make it right!

He won a lot of money, Dad.

The Mentaculus really works!

You knew about it?

Well... They must have finked me out.

They knew I could just go on winning, ...so they blackballed me and now...

What did you do with the money you won?

What's going on?

Well, I didn't want it, and Danny said that he could use it...

That is so unfair!

LARRY: What are you... I'll tell you what's unfair.

What's unfair is them not letting me play in their card game.

Why give him the money? You know what he spends it on?

I know about the records.

Records? Do you think he buys records from Mike Fagle?

At least I'm not saving up for a nose job.

What a brat! LARRY: What?

Nobody in this house is getting a nose job! You got that?

Danny! You're not excused!

We're still talking!

What was this card game, Arthur?

Some goys put together a private game.

I think that they're Italian.

Danny! What's going on?

Danny? We're sitting shiva here.

Well, she has retained Barney Silver at Tuchman, Marsh.

This is a...

This is an aggressive firm, Larry. Mmm-hmm.

These are not pleasant people.

Judith is free to retain whoever she...

I take it you don't talk?

It's hard. I think she emptied our bank account.


I tried to ask her about it, very civilly. She... Yeah.

Yeah, you need to open a new account in your name only.

Put your paychecks in there from here on out.

Can I? Oh, absolutely.

It's not dishonest?

Oh, absolutely.

You... I hate to say this, ...but I think she's also been sneaking cash out of my wallet.

Oh, boy Oh, boy.

Yeah, well, this is definitely adversarial.

Larry? Are you all right? Larry!

Hey, come on now! Larry! There's no need for that.

Larry, Larry, we...

We're going to get through this.

Have you talked to the Rabbi?

I talked to Nachtner.

Was he helpful at all?

What, did he tell you about the goy's teeth?

You should try to talk to Marshak.

They told me he doesn't do pastoral work anymore.

He just...

...congratulates the bar mitzvah boy every week.

Well, that's too bad.

He's a very wise man, Marshak.

Getting old.

Very old.

No, me.

Uh, Dick Dutton. Columbia Record Club. Not now.

Does he ever come to the phone?

If I came in, could...

Well, how about at Rabbi Marshak's convenience?

Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

Well, could I give you my number at the Jolly Roger?

LARRY: X squared, so that delta X equals...

...the square root of .077 A squared minus zero, ...from which we derive the square root of .077 A squared.

And also, the uncertainty...

...in P is equal to the square root of bracket P squared...

...minus bracket P squared, ...which also equals the square root of H over A squared.

Which lets us delta X, delta P

...equals the square root of.077 A squared, H over A squared, and 1.74 H bar.


The Uncertainty Principle.

It proves we can't ever really know...

...what's going on.

But even though you can't figure anything out, ...you will be responsible for it on the mid-term.

Did you follow that? Of course.

Except that I know what's going on.

How do you explain?

Well, it might be that in, you know, in olam ha-ba...

Excuse me, not the point. In this world, Larry.

Now I'll concede that it's subtle, it's clever.

But at the end of the day, is it convincing?

Well, yes, it's convincing.

It's a proof. It's mathematics.

No, excuse me. Mathematics is the art of the possible.

I don't think so.

The art of the possible, that's...

I can't remember. Something else.

I'm a serious man, Larry.

I know that So, if I've got it wrong, what do I... So simple.

See Marshak.

I know! I want to see Marshak! I want to see Marshak!

I fucked your wife, Larry!

I seriously fucked her! That's what's going on!

See Marshak!

Mr Gopnik.

Hello, Mrs Samsky.

I was going to knock, and then I thought you weren't here.

I thought I heard something.

Can I help you? Do you want to come in?

No, I... It's cooler.

Oh. Okay.

I've noticed that Mr Samsky isn't around, and I, uh...

He travels. Uh-huh. Yeah.

So I thought I should let you know, since you're somewhat new here, ...if you ever have, whatever, chores that you'd, um...

Or just help with something I've decided to help others, in a neighborly way.

How thoughtful. Oh, it's nothing.

It's just good to know your neighbors, and to help.

Help others.

Although I don't care much for my neighbors on the other side, I must say.

Goys, aren't they? Mmm. Very much so.

Although maybe it's not fair to judge. I have to admit...

Won't you sit down?

Oh, um... Okay. Thank you.

Iced tea? I have some. Okay.

I don't see you much around either.

Yes, actually I haven't been home a lot recently. I, uh...

My wife and I are...

Well, she's got me staying at the Jolly Roger, the little motel there on...

You're in the doghouse, huh?

Yes. That's an understatement, I guess. Thank you.

I guess I...

Do you take advantage of the new freedoms?

What do you mean?

It's something I do.

For recreation.


...marijuana? Mmm-hmm.

You'll find you'll need the iced tea.

Is it...

Well, okay.

Maybe Rabbi Scott was right.

Who's Rabbi Scott?

The junior rabbi.

The junior rabbi.

What did he say?

LARRY: He spoke of...


All my problems are just...

Just a...

A mere...

Is that a siren?


Sometimes people get paranoid...

Holy cow, that is a siren.




POLICEMAN: Does this man live here?

Sort of. He sleeps on the couch. This is crazy!

I didn't know what to tell them They asked me for my address.

It's just mathematics. You can't arrest a man for mathematics.

I didn't know whether to tell them here, or at the Jolly Roger.

Do you know this man?

I just figured that this would sound better. I don't know.

Dad, why is Uncle Arthur in handcuffs?

It's all a mistake. I mean, not a mistake, a miscarriage...

Hello, Mrs Samsky. Hello, Arthur.

Does this man live here? He sleeps on the couch.

Look. What did he do?

Nothing! I didn't do anything! DANNY: Dad sleeps on a cot.

Sir, we picked this man up at the North Dakota.

But I didn't do anything! I didn't... The North Dakota?

Solicitation Sodomy Very serious.

But I didn't do anything.


What's sodomy, Dad?

What does Arthur say?

He says he didn't do anything.


He says he just went in for a drink.


Does Arthur drink? No.


The North Dakota.


You'll need a criminal attorney.

Okay Who's... Ron Meshbesher.

Is he good? Ron is very good.

I don't understand.

He goes to mixers at the Hillel House. Mmm.

I would call Ron Meshbesher. Is he expensive?

Ron is not cheap.


Oh, Sol, come in, we could use some good news.

DON: Sol's been going over the property line issue...

...and he wouldn't go into details, but he seems to think...

...there's a nifty way out of this.

Says it was pure luck that he caught something.

I guess that's why you're full partner, eh, Sol?

Danny's bar mitzvah is... This week.

DON: This Shabbas? Great, great.

Professor Gopnik, Dick Dutton.

Heart attack. Call back.


As you know, the tenure committee meets on... What?

Are you all right? I'm fine.

I'm sorry. I know you've hit a rough patch.

Someone just...

But I'm fine.

Well, as you know, the tenure committee meets on Wednesday...

...to make its final determinations, so if... Arlen, I am not an evil man.

No, no, Larry, no, of course not. I am not!

No, we don't make moral judgments.

I went to the Aster Art once.

I saw Swedish Reverie.

No, it's okay. We don't need to know.

It wasn't even erotic.

Although it was, in a way.

It's all right, really, Larry. Believe me.

Yeah, okay.

Okay. Okay.

So, we decide on Wednesday.

So, if there's anything that you want to...

...submit in support of your tenure application, ...we would need it by Wednesday.

Submit? What do you...

Well, anything. Any published work.

Anything you've done outside the institution.

Anything at all that we should be aware of.

I haven't done anything. Uh-huh.

I haven't published. Uh-huh.

You're still getting those... Uh-huh.

Those anonymous... No, no, I know. Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah.

Okay. Okay. Wednesday? Uh-huh.

Um Okay Uh... Don't worry.

Doing nothing is not bad. Ipso facto.

Just relax.

Try to relax.

Oh, my God, Mrs. Samsky!

So good.

Nailing it down. So important.

LARRY: Please. I need help. I've already talked to the other rabbis. Please.

It's not about Danny's bar mitzvah.

My boy, Danny. This coming Shabbas.

Very joyous event. That's all fine.

It's more about myself. I've had quite a bit of tsuris lately.

Marital problems, professional, you name it.

This is not a frivolous request.

This is a...

I'm a...

I've tried to be a serious man, you know?

Tried to do right, be a member of the community, raise the...

Danny, Sarah, they both go to school, Hebrew school.

A good breakfast...

Well, Danny goes to Hebrew school, Sarah doesn't have time.

She mostly washes her hair.

Apparently there are several steps involved, ...but you don't have to tell Marshak that, just tell him I need help.

Please. I need help.

The Rabbi is busy.

He didn't look busy.

He's thinking.



What's wrong?

It'll be okay. Arthur, we'll...

Don't worry, we'll get Ron Meshbesher It'll be okay...



Arthur! You've got to pull yourself together!

It's all shit, Larry! It's all shit!

Arthur, don't use that word.

It's just fucking shit!


Look at all that Hashem has given you!

What has he given me? He hasn't given me shit!

Arthur. What do I have? I live at the Jolly Roger.

You have a family! You have a job!

Hashem hasn't given me shit He hasn't given me bupkes!

It's not fair to blame Hashem, Arthur. Please.

Sometimes... Please calm down.

Sometimes you have to help yourself.

Hashem hasn't given me shit.

Now I can't even play cards.

It's okay, it's okay.

It's okay, it's okay.

Is this it?

ARTHUR: Yeah, I think. Yeah, there.

Look, this should help you get back on your feet.

Oh, my God Where did you get this?

It doesn't matter. This is a lot of money.

It should get you started. I know, but this is a lot of money.

You sure you don't need it? Arthur, I'm fine.

Come on, get in When you're settled, ...let me know how to get in touch.

You're sure?

It's fine.

Larry. I'm sorry.

What I said last night.

I know.

It's okay.


There's another Jew, son!

Were we out at the pool last night?


I'm sorry.

It's Shabbas.

Give me that fucker.

I'm sorry that... That things have been so hard for us.

It's okay.

Sy had so much respect for you, Larry.

He wrote letters to the tenure committee.

Jesus Christ.

...taking your place as a member of our tribe.

Now, you will go and see Rabbi Marshak.

Afterwards, you will celebrate in a reception downstairs in Schanfield Hall.

And then, you will be a member of B'Nai Avraham and the Nation of Israel.

Danny Gopnik, the Sisterhood makes a gift to you of this Kiddush cup, ...so that you will remember this blessed day on the next Shabbas and the next, ...and on every Shabbas of a long and fruitful life.

And until that wonderful day when you stand under the chuppah, we say amen.

When the truth...

...is found...

...to be lies...

...and all the hope...

...within you dies...

Then what?

Grace Slick.

Marty Balin.

Paul Kantner.




These are the members...

...of the Airplane.

Mmm-hmm. Uh-huh.

Be a good boy.

ARLEN: Danny was magnificent.


Thank you, Arlen.

Mazel tov. It was wonderful.

Yes, it was. Thank you.

Such a time of nachas.

He's your youngest, you have to savor it.

I do.

I will.

Well, see you at the staff caf. Yes.

I, uh...

Just, um...

I shouldn't tell you this, I'm not telling you officially.

The tenure candidates aren't notified till Thursday.


You'll be very pleased.

Thank you, Arlen. I didn't say anything Mazel tov.


There's a tornado warning from the weather service.

Mr. Turchik has decided to move us into the basement of the synagogue.

We will form two lines.

That fucking flag's gonna rip right off the flagpole!


MAN: Larry? Yes?

Hi, Len Shapiro.

Oh Hello, Dr. Shapiro.

Listen, mazel tov on Danny.

Yes, thank you.

Listen, could you come by to discuss these x-ray results?



Larry, could you come in to discuss these x-ray results?

You remember the X-Rays we took?

We can't discuss them over the phone?

I think we'd be more comfortable in person.

Can you come in?

When? Now.

Now is good. I've cleared some time now.

Hey, Fagle!

Fagle, I got your...