Yentl (1983) Script

Morning. Good morning.

When I was in Lublin studying last week, I found this wonderful book.

Can you believe the price of cabbage?

For instance, he gives 25 different interpretations of Genesis alone.

Best in the market. Parsnip, turnip, everything for soup.

Storybooks for women, sacred books for men.

Lovely picture books for women. each sentence.

Fish, fish. Fishy fish.

Mama. Rachel.

Fish. Fish.

Come, look at this. Look at this, ladies. Look at this.

Fine herring, carp, beautiful silver carp.

Delicious, delicious. See the difference?

The skin should be tight, firm, and the scales shiny like diamonds.

Yentl, how's Papa?

He's much better, thank you. Good, good.

And then there's the smell.

Lovely picture books for women, sacred books for men.

Storybooks for women, sacred books for men.

Yentl? Yentl, what would you like to have?

Yentl, a pike or a carp?

Fine. Fine. A nice carp.

Novels for women, sacred books for men. Picture books for women...

Yentl, what's this I hear? You finally got engaged.

I don't know. What do you mean, you don't know?

Did you or didn't you? What, hear about it or do it?

If she can make jokes about finding a husband at her age, I shouldn't worry.

Here you are, darling. So beautiful, it'll cook itself.

And what's so funny? What are you laughing about?

Are you going to buy my fish today? I'll eat chicken.

Storybooks for women, sacred books for men.

Yentl, did you hear about Helen Shipman?

I haven't got time today. You never do.

Buy your gruel. Novels for women, sacred books for men.

Lovely picture books for women.

So, in the second part, he relates the mysticism of creation to the mysticism of language.

There are things in here we shouldn't even be reading.

Can we afford it? No, but we can read it.

There's one in the rabbi's study. Come on.

What a nice girl. There's your change.

You're in the wrong place, miss. What?

Books for women are over here.

Novels, very romantic. I'd like to buy this one, please.

Sacred books are for men. Why?

It's a law, that's why. Where is it written?

Never mind where. It's a law.

Well, if it's a law, it must be written somewhere, maybe in here. I'll take it.

Miss, do me a favor. Do yourself a favor.

Here, buy a nice picture book.

Girls like picture books. What if I told you it's for my father?

Why didn't you say? Fifteen kopecks.

And if you want to know where that's written, it's inside the cover.

Thank you.

Good. And who's wise?

He who knows a lot. No, try again. Who's wise?

He who... He who learns from all men.

He who learns from all men? Good. And who's rich?

Who's rich? Oh, I know that one. You know?

He who has a full heart.

He who is content with what he has.

Yentl, is dinner almost ready?

Yes, he who has a full heart, and also, he who is content with what he has.

But, Reb Mendel, how can one question have two answers?

David, sometimes there are many answers to the same question.

Now, the last one. Who is strong?

Strong... No, no, no. Who is strong?

He who controls his passions. Concentrate, David.

Controls his passions.

Try, David. I'm trying.

He who... He who controls his passions!

Yentl knows Talmud?

I think that's enough for today.

My father says that a woman who studies Talmud is a demon.

She's not a demon. She just has big ears.

So you don't have to mention this to your father.

Goodbye, Reb Mendel. Goodbye, goodbye.

Bye, David. See you tonight.

Now you'll have the whole village talking about us.

Papa, you shouldn't be smoking.

Do you think the angel of death will be frightened away by cough medicine?


In the first place, you don't have to drown him in it.


And in the second place, I think he's beginning to like it.

Oh, you want some more? Yentl.

You know something? Baked apple is good a little burnt.

I'm sorry, Papa. No, no, no. I mean it. I like it this way.

Really? Oh, yes.

Go on, your move.


Why is it that every book I buy, every bookseller who comes has the same old argument?

You know why. I envy them.

The booksellers? No, not the booksellers, the students.

Talking about life, the mysteries of the universe.

And I'm learning how to tell a herring from a carp.

Yentl, for the thousandth time, men and women have different obligations. Have different obligations, I know, but...

And don't ask why.

Go on. Get the books.

Get the books. Thank you, Papa.

"Thank you, Papa. Thank you, Papa." Thank you.

The shutters, darling. The shutters.

If we don't have to hide my studying from God, then why from the neighbors?

Why? Because I trust God will understand. I'm not so sure about the neighbors.

Questions, questions, even when you were little.

"Does a goat have a soul?" Does it?

"What was before the universe?" I'd really like to know.

Where were we? We were up to Hillel's argument.

Hillel's argument that knowledge...




Papa, I'm a little tired tonight.

Do you mind? We'll study tomorrow.


Oh, Yentl, Yentl. Oh, Yentl.

You're such a comfort to me.

But you should have a young man to take care of you, preferably one who doesn't like to eat.

Good night, darling. Good night, Papa.

Are you all right? Yes, I'm fine. Fine, fine.

God, our merciful father, I'm wrapped in a robe of light, clothed in your glory that spreads its wings over my soul.

May I be worthy.


There's not a morning I begin Without a thousand questions running through my mind That I don't try to find the reason and the logic In the world that God designed The reason why A bird was given wings If not to fly And praise the sky With every song it sings What's right or wrong Where I belong Within the scheme of things

And why have eyes that see and arms that reach Unless you're meant to know there's something more?

If not to hunger for the meaning of it all Then tell me what a soul is for Why have the wings unless you're meant to fly?

And tell me, please, why have a mind If not to question why?

And tell me where Where is it written what it is I'm meant to be That I can't dare To have the chance to pick the fruit of every tree Or have my share Of every sweet imagined possibility?

Just tell me where

Tell me where

If I were only meant to tend the nest Then why does my imagination sail Across the mountains and the seas Beyond the make-believe of any fairy tale?

Why have the thirst if not to drink the wine?

And what a waste to have a taste Of things that can't be mine And tell me where Where is it written what it is I'm meant to be That I can't dare To find the meanings in the mornings that I see Or have my share Of every sweet imagined possibility?


Just tell me where Where is it written?

Tell me where Are you all right?

Or if it's written

Anywhere Did you hear, Albert?

Yentl is learning Talmud. Learning Talmud?

That's impossible. It's true.

David's mother told me. He was there. It can't be.

Better she should learn how to get a husband.

He came all the way from Riga to see you.

So, why, Yentl, why won't you at least meet him?

What for? "What for?"

I want to dance at your wedding. I want to see you happy.

I'm happy with you, Papa.

I don't want to get married now. I noticed.

I don't want to just bear children and darn my husband's socks.

What is it you want? A husband who will darn your socks?

Sounds interesting. And bear your children?

Go on, turn the world upside down and inside out.

You won't have a moment's peace. I didn't say I never wanted...

Children are more important than the Talmud.

Without children to pass it on to, the learning, the studying, the Talmud dies with old men when they die.

I'm sorry. I'm the one who's sorry.

You're a woman, but I didn't teach you how to be one.

You taught me everything I know. Too much you know.

You know too much, but not enough.

And it's my fault. Papa, please, don't say that.

Learning is my whole life. Please don't be sorry. I'm not.

What is it? That tree.

That tree was this high when your brother Anshel died, may he rest in peace.

You were only a baby, could hardly talk, let alone ask, "Why?"

And now, look, look how it's grown.

Too late to tell you to play with dolls?

I love you, Papa. Please...

Hear me, O Lord, master of the universe.

Thou hast given me a daughter who brings me great pride and pleasure.

And for this kindness, I thank thee forever and ever.

What's to become of you, Yentl?

Come, Yentl.

You must tear it over your heart.

Good. Who will say Kaddish?

I will. It has to be a man, Yentl, a male relative.

May God forgive her.

Listen, my house is hers as long as she wants.

So she'll help a little in the store, look after the children, maybe do a little cooking...

Yentl, eat.

It's enough. We mourn for seven days only.

Then life goes on.


Razel, Sarah, I think maybe we come back later.


Get your things together, Yentl. I'll come back for you later.

Believe me, I'll keep you so busy, you won't have time to think.

Forgive me, Papa.


Wait! Stop! Whoa.

Please. What do you want, boy?

Could you give me a ride to the next town, please?

You got money? A little.

Get in back. Thank you.

Say, where do you think you're going?

Get off of here. Wait!

Go find another wagon. Tomorrow. Wait! Please wait!

God Our heavenly father O God And my father, who's also in heaven May the light of this flickering candle Illuminate the night, the way your spirit Illuminates my soul

Papa, can you hear me?

Papa, can you see me?

Papa, can you find me in the night?

Papa, are you near me? Papa, can you hear me?

Papa, can you help me not be frightened?

Looking at the skies I seem to see a million eyes Which ones are yours?

Where are you now that yesterday has waved goodbye And closed its doors?

The night is so much darker The wind is so much colder The world I see is so much bigger now that I'm alone Papa, please forgive me Try to understand me Papa, don't you know I had no choice?

Can you hear me praying Anything I'm saying Even though the night is filled with voices?

I remember everything you taught me Every book I've ever read

Can all the words in all the books help me to face what lies ahead?

The trees are so much taller and I feel so much smaller The moon is twice as lonely And the stars are half as bright

Papa, how I love you Papa, how I need you Papa, how I miss you Kissing me Good night

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

Who will be for me?

Who will be for me?

If I am for myself alone, who am I?

Who am I?

If not now, when?


Innkeeper, more soup.

Did you hear that? Yes. I hear, I hear.

Who's throwing that? I need some more fish.

Don't throw that. I told you not to. Watch out!

Lithuania, Poland, all yeshivas are the same.

A school is a school.

I mean, it's only the rabbis that are different. I mean, the girls...

Why would the Talmud repeat itself, why? Because it's an improper translation.

Even if they contradict each other? Avigdor, what do you think?

The Talmud recognizes life is filled with contradiction.

You see? He agrees with me. Your move.

Two beers.

I can hear you. I only have two hands.


Nothing, sorry. No, go on.

It's just that if you move your castle to queen seven...

Yes? His knight is pinned. That's all.

You don't know what you're talking about.

No. Sorry.

Stop yelling at me, Papa. I'm not yelling! I'm not yelling!


The long diagonal. Who knew? You should've listened to him.

Pay up.

Chaim, catch.

You want a bite? No, thank you.

Don't play. Hey, you. You.

Sit down. Why?

Because I said so. Sit.

Five kopecks if you win. You pay me one if you lose.

What do I have to do?

Whoever forces the other's hand to the table wins.

Oh, no, thanks. Ready? Go.

Wasn't it Rabbi Akiva who said, "The true strength of a man..."

One kopeck.

"...lies in his ability to stretch even the narrowest mind"? Thank you.

You're welcome. Now you can stretch my mind again.

Go. Well, I think Rabbi Akiva also said...

Two kopecks.

I thought it was one. But I beat you twice.


Give him back his money.

Why? Because I said so.

Because you said so.

I'll see you later when your beard starts to grow. Mama's boy.

No, it wasn't, since you asked.

Rabbi Akiva, "The narrowest mind."

Was it Rabbi Eliezer? No, it was Rabbi Israel Salanter.

Rabbi Israel Salanter.

By the way, my brother didn't have one, either.


Are you hungry? A little.

Help yourself. Yes, please. Help yourself.

Which yeshiva are you going to? I haven't decided. Someplace quiet.

A quiet yeshiva?

Bechev's the best. Well, the nearest.

That's where we study. Everybody else studies.

Me, I just count the days till I go home again.

And his parents count the days till they can send him back again.

Our rabbi's a genius. Rabbi Zalman. Maybe you've heard of him?

I think so. In one answer, he settles 10 questions.

My father had 10 questions for every answer.


He died eight days ago, may he rest in peace.

You're in mourning, too. My brother.

Almost a month now. May he rest in peace.

I'm Shimmele, by the way.

Oh, hello. Hello.

And you? What?

What's your name?

My name? Name.

Anshel. That's it. That's my name. My name is Anshel.

Well, good. You know your own name. You're as good a scholar as I am.

This is Avigdor. I know.

I mean, hello. Boys!

Wagons to the north and west leaving now.

And now means now. Goodbye.

Bye, Anshel, nice meeting you.

Come on, then. We don't want to be late.


Hey, are you deaf? Anshel! Anshel. Yes?

There's a spare seat in the wagon if you're still undecided.

I just decided.

In Plzen there's a fisherman who's got the strongest rod The cod he catches are so big and when they see his cod they scream Where you from, Anshel?

A little village you've probably never heard of. Yanev.

Yanev? I have relatives in Yanev, a third cousin.

We moved. What?

Years ago.

You have relatives in Riga? Riga?

No. Now we live in Riga.


Were you close?

Well, he was my father and my teacher.

What more could you ask for? What about your brother?

We were brothers. Older? Younger?

Younger, about your age. What happened?

Pneumonia. Sorry.

Would you like to discuss a page of Talmud?

Oh, no, not Talmud. Which?

Whatever you're reading. I'll state the premise. You dispute it.

You know it by heart?

When does day become night?

Sundown. When is sundown?

Sundown is when you can see the first three stars in the sky.

That's not precise enough. Why?

When's dusk?

Dusk is when the light's no longer blue. That's twilight.

No, twilight is when all objects are silhouettes.

Will you be quiet for five minutes? You're not even in the yeshiva yet.

There's Bechev! We're home!

How do I get into this yeshiva?

Rabbi Zalman tests you on what you know or what you think you know.

I'll arrange a meeting tomorrow. Will I be able to live at this yeshiva?

Not at this one. Don't worry, you'll find lodgings.

There may be a room where I stay. We'll ask.

I'm starving. You're always starving.

Wait for me. Come on, you're walking too slow.

You're walking too fast.

The synagogue's down the street to the left.

The yeshiva's straight ahead. I live right around this corner.

Who is it? It's me.

Avigdor? How many other boyfriends do you have?

I'm so glad you're back.

Are you all right? Yes, yes, of course.

Well, as soon as you see Hadass, you'll feel better.

Who wants other girls when I've got you? What a shame, a wicked tongue.

I want you to meet a friend of mine, Anshel.

Anshel, Mrs. Jacobs. Good evening, Mrs. Jacobs.

Anshel? I told him that you'd have a room for him.

Oh, I'm sorry, dear, not tonight.

My niece is here from Latvia, but she leaves tomorrow.

It's all right. For one night, he can share my bed.

No, I can't. Why not?

I don't want to impose. Don't be silly.

Anyway, I'm a restless sleeper. That's all right. I snore.

Come on.


Anshel, will you put out the lamp?

I can't. I'm being tested by the rabbi tomorrow.

So? You're going to learn the entire Talmud by heart overnight?

All 2,555 pages?

You're tired, you sleep. I'm not tired, I'm exhausted.

I've been bouncing around in a wagon all day long. All I want to do is sleep.

Get in bed.

Would you like to talk a little before... Bed.

Why don't I just put the light... Get in bed.


Who's Hadass?

Mrs. Jacobs mentioned somebody... For God's sake.

Sorry. I'm sorry. It doesn't matter. Go back to sleep.

The girl I'm engaged to.



Oh, it's your suitcase.

Is she pretty, this Hadass? No. Beautiful.

What color hair does she have?

Look, I have dinner at her house every Tuesday. I'll take you.

Thank you.

Red. Red?

Now, will you get into bed? Sure.

You'll fall off the edge.

I always sleep like this.

Why? Why?

I think it's written.

What is?

Two bachelors in the same bed must lie back to back.

Really? Really. So turn over, please.

Why'd you have to talk about Hadass? Now I'll never get to sleep.

Why not? Don't you ever think sinful thoughts?

No. No?

Yes! Don't be so nervous.

Why should I be nervous?

You're being tested by the rabbi tomorrow.

Good night.

Good night.

I'll see you in class, okay?

No, Anshel, the whole point of study is to teach us how to live, not only to study.

But why? "Why? Why?" Again, "Why?"

No, I mean, excuse me, but my father used to quote Hillel, who said... May I?

Hillel said, "May I?" No, I mean, may I quote Hillel?

Quote, quote.

Well, Hillel said, "He that increases wisdom increases life."

Exactly. Meaning that wisdom is the most important thing.

Only as the means to an end. Wisdom is the means. Living is the end.

Well, in that case, may I ask you another question?

Ask, ask.

Well, if Hillel said, "He that increases study increases wisdom, "and he that increases wisdom increases life," then...

Grab it. You can't just grab it.

You're supposed to... No, that's not it.

You can do it, so long as...

That's why Rabbi Akiva says you must use the left side.

No, I disagree.

Well? I don't know. He just said to me...

He asks a lot of questions, this one. I'm sorry, I've been told that before.

It's by their questions that we choose our students, not only by their answers.

Your father taught you well, Anshel. Welcome to our yeshiva.

I'm accepted?

I'm a student?

I'm a student. And now, a study partner for him.

There are moments you remember all your life There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life

This is one of those moments I will always remember this chair that window The way the light streams in He's too advanced for them.

The clothes I'm wearing The words I'm hearing Too advanced for Yessel and Berish.

The face I'm seeing So who?

The feeling I'm feeling Me? You?

The smell, the sounds My chickens are too advanced for you.

Will be written on my mind Thank you. Avigdor?

Will be written in my heart There's only me who is too advanced for him.

It's up to you.

As long as I live We'll see.

I can travel the past and take what I need to see me through the years What my father learned and his father before him Will be there for my eyes and ears I can walk through the forests of the trees of knowledge And listen to the lesson of the leaves I can enter rooms where there are rooms within rooms Wrapped in a shawl that learning weaves I remember, Papa Everything you've taught me What you gave me, Papa Look at what it's brought me There are certain things that once you have No man can take away No wave can wash away No wind can blow away And now they're about to be mine No tide can turn away No fire can burn away No time can wear away

I can open doors, take from the shelves all the books I've longed to hold I can ask all the questions the whys and the wheres As the mysteries of life unfold Like a link in a chain from the past to the future Joins me with the children yet to be I can now be a part of the ongoing stream That has always been a part of me There are certain things that once you have No man can take away No wave can wash away No wind can blow away Anshel, come down.

No tide can turn away No fire can burn away No time can wear away Where in the Talmud does it say, "Possession is nine-tenths of the law"?


Yebamoth? No.

No, it's not Yebamoth. It's Bava Metzia. No.

It's Bava Kama, page 29A. No.

Forgive me. It's Bava Kama, but it's 31B?

Anshel is right.

There are moments you remember all your life There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life

This is one of those moments



So, congratulations, Anshel. Accepted in a fine yeshiva.

Your father would be proud. I hope so.


I understand he was a scholar, too? Yes, yes, he was.

Now his son after him. May your father rest in peace.

May he rest in peace. May he rest in peace.

Avigdor's brother, too. He told you?

Yes, he did. Consumption, a terrible thing.


At our table, two scholars waiting. I'm coming.

I'd like to have a toast to the new yeshiva boy.

Such an honor.

How is the fish, boys? Delicious.

Hadass made it herself. It's Avigdor's favorite.

I hope so. We get it every Tuesday.

I mean, it's very good. It's good fish.

You have a lovely home, Mrs. Vishkower.

Such beautiful things, the silver, the dishes, the tablecloth.

Thank you, Anshel. It's nice of you to notice.

Oh. I'm sorry.

It's all right.

You... You come from a big family?

No. No brothers or sisters?

No. And your father never remarried?

No. Esther.

Well, I'm just curious. I mean, who took care of them?

If I knew Talmud the way my wife knows everybody's business, God bless her, I'd be the sage of all sages.

Don't you pay any attention to him.

No wonder he loves her No wonder at all The moment she sees him Her thought is to please him Horseradish is good for you.

Before he even knows that he's hungry she's already there with his plate Before his glass is even empty She's filling it up God forbid he should wait Before he has the chance to tell her he's chilly, she'll go put a log on the fire Anshel? Anshel.

Fulfilling his every desire More bread, please.

No trouble Yes, more bread.

No bother Carrots? No, thank you.

No wonder she's pretty What else should she be?

She hasn't a worry And why should she worry?

When she gets up, her biggest decision is figuring out what to wear To pick a blouse, a skirt And then there's the problem Of what should she do with her hair And later as she stands and studies a chicken The question's to roast or to not roast Or better yet, maybe a pot roast Tomatoes? No Potatoes.

No wonder he likes it It's perfect this way Who wouldn't want someone who fusses and flatters Who makes you feel that you're all that matters Whose only aim in life is to serve you And make you think she doesn't deserve you?

No wonder he loves her It's all right. It happens.

All the time.

What else could he do?

If I were a man I would, too Let's try dessert. Yes, Mother.


Let's go this way.

She makes the best almond cakes, doesn't she?

I thought it was pneumonia.

Your brother. It was.

Vishkower said consumption. Did he?

They were very impressed with you in there.

"Beautiful dishes, beautiful home."

I didn't open my mouth the first two months I went, except to eat.

Is she always that nervous?

She's a girl in love. What do you expect?

She doesn't say very much, does she? What does she have to say?

Don't you ever wonder what she's thinking?

No. What could she be thinking?

Anyway, I don't need her to think. I can do that with you.

You're wrong, Avigdor. It's a mistranslation.

The Hebrew for rib never meant rib. It meant side.

Rib, side, what's the difference? All the difference in the world.

Since Adam was created both male and female...

Where's that written? Genesis, chapter five, verse two.

And if God took one side of Adam and not his rib and created woman, that means they're the same. We all are, everybody is. Don't you see?

What I see is you've never been with a woman.

What I mean is that they share masculine and feminine qualities since they come from the same source.

Look, can you do that? What?

Create life, give birth to sons?

When you can do that, then you tell me we're the same.

Give me back my book. Another interpretation, the true story of Adam and Eve, Genesis Rabba 18.

God didn't make her from Adam's ear lest she be an eavesdropper.

Come on, please. Nor from his foot lest she be a wanderer.

Nor from his heart, so she wouldn't be jealous.

Must you talk with your hands?

But from a hidden part of the body, so she'd be modest.

Stop it. Like my Hadass.

In other words, the rib. No, not the rib. Not the rib, ox head, side! Side! Rib! Rib!

Side! Rib, rib. Admit it. Admit you're wrong.

Admit it! Admit it! I will not. I'm not wrong.

Admit it! Get off me. I can't breathe.

I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

Come on.

Where are you going? Come on!

Avigdor, wait.


Avigdor, where are you? Over here!

Come on in. Oh, my God.

That's a bit funny, though.

Come on in! No.

There's a passage here that...

It's the only way to cool off. No, it's all right.

I'll... I'll watch the clothes.

Don't throw me in the water. Look at this fish I've caught.

Shimmele, come on in. Shimmele, come on in.

Hey, Avigdor, how's the water? It's good. It's fun.

It feels wonderful.

You're really missing something. Am I?

The water's perfect. Is it?

Here, your pants. What a day.

Put on your pants. What a pleasure.

It must be a sin. It couldn't be.

Anshel! Come on in.

That's enough studying. No, no, it's too cold.

The water's warm. No, I catch cold easily.

That's not the reason. It's not?

Why didn't you tell me? What? What? Tell you what?

You can't swim.

I can't swim. That's right. I can't swim. I can't swim, Shimmele!

Neither can I. That's why I stay where it's shallow.

Come on, Anshel. I'll teach you. No. No, no.

Don't be afraid. I don't really want to learn.

I'll hold you. No. I don't like swimming.

Take off your clothes. I'll hold you. No. Stop it.

Take your clothes off. No, no.

You're gonna get all wet. Oh, stop it. Please, stop it.

Are you ashamed? Embarrassed? I don't want to.

All right, all right. I don't want to. Stop it!

All right, all right. If you're that scared...

I'm not going to force you.

Next time. Sure.

When you're ready.

There's no chill and yet I shiver There's no flame and yet I burn I'm not sure what I'm afraid of And yet I'm trembling

There's no storm, yet I hear thunder And I'm breathless, why, I wonder Weak one moment, then the next I'm fine I feel as if I'm falling every time I close my eyes And flowing through my body is a river of surprise Feelings are awakening I hardly recognize as mine

What are all these new sensations?

What's the secret they reveal?

I'm not sure I understand But I like the way I feel

Oh, why is it that every time I close my eyes he's there?

The water shining on his skin the sunlight in his hair And all the while I'm thinking things That I can never share with him

I'm a bundle of confusion Yet it has a strange appeal Did it all begin with him And the way he makes me feel?

I like the way He makes me Feel

Which is the greater crime, stealing by day or by night?

By day. By night.

What's wrong? That's what I want to know.

Every morning, by the time we reach here, you've exhausted the five books of Moses, the six orders of the Mishnah, the seven wonders of the world and the entire mystery of the universe. This morning, not a word. What's wrong?

Nothing. Just like my brother.

In a little world of your own half the time. Not saying what's on your mind, moody.

Who's moody? Worried about something?

No. Studies?

Nothing, Avigdor. I'm your study partner.

You should tell me if you are. I'm not.

With me sitting next to you, what have you got to worry about?

Please. I know what's wrong.

Come on, I'll take you to the matchmaker.

It'll put you in a better mood. I'm not going to a matchmaker.

Give you something soft and round and sweet.

Excuse me, gentlemen.

Thank you, Sophie. Avigdor, please.

My future father-in-law would like to see me.

Well, we're eating there tonight.

He wants to see me now. What for?

Dowry, wedding ceremony, the wedding night.

Why do you keep grabbing me? What?

You're always grabbing me.

No, I'm not. Well, yes, you are.

So? Everything has to have a reason?

The wedding night!

Hello, Sophie. Is Avigdor here? Hello.

He... Excuse me.

What's wrong?

What's the matter?

Anshel, I'm sorry.

You're still welcome here, no matter what's happened.

Sophie will get you something to eat.

Where's Avigdor?

Excuse me, Reb Alter, but...

Hadass, sweetheart, try to understand.


I just came from...

What happened? The wedding's off.


He says I have the evil eye.

Says a streak of melancholy runs in our blood.

What are you saying?

No man can let his daughter marry into a family like that.

It's forbidden.

Avigdor, I have no idea what you're talking about.

They found out. What?

About my brother. What about your brother?

He didn't die of pneumonia or consumption. I lied.

He committed suicide.

Oh, my God.

So no wedding. No sons.

What's all this for?

Did you talk to Hadass? What for?

She loves you, Avigdor. She'll still marry you.

Not if her parents say no.

Yes, she can. If she thinks her parents are wrong, she can.

Come on, Anshel. You think it's so easy. She's a woman.

What does that have to do... She can't think for herself.

That's nonsense. Not all...

Please, Anshel, this isn't a time for a philosophical argument.

I've lost the one girl that I've ever loved, that I'll ever love.

You want to sit here and argue?

You'll fall in love again.


Hadass is a nice girl, but don't make her into more than she is.

No, I'm not. She was exactly what I wanted.

Please don't.

I'm sorry.

Is this really happening, Anshel?

Maybe someone else will turn up for you.

Maybe not quite as pretty, maybe with brown hair.

I wouldn't notice her if she did.

Why do you punish him for something his brother did?

Anshel, please. Hadass should be proud to be his wife.

You should be proud to be his father-in-law.


They love each other. That's all that matters.

No, that's not all. There are other things.

Don't talk old wives' tales. Talk the law. I'll talk more than the law. I'll talk life!

What matters is a man's children.

It's his children that your law exists for, her children.

That's her only dowry, and my obligation as her father.

I have one daughter. I want the best for her.

Avigdor is the best.

The best scholar, maybe the best friend, but not the best choice.

We want someone from a good family, someone with no secrets to hide.

Someone like...

Someone else.


A little more?

In the middle of the night, he goes to school.

What did you have for dinner? What did I have for dinner?

Very little. And Hadass?

She's still in love. What do you expect? How did she look?

Not as bad as you do.

You didn't miss anything. It was like a madhouse.

The whole family's going crazy. What do you mean?

Well, it's just that...

I'm sure Reb Alter... I mean, to save face, they're going to try to marry her off...

After a broken engagement, they have to. It's usual.

Did they mention someone? No, no.

But you should have seen the way they were looking at me.


Can you imagine? It shows you how desperate they are.

What's the matter? What? The books.

Avigdor? What's the matter? That's a sin. What are you doing?

Avigdor, please, just tell me what's happening.

The books. What?

What are you doing? Where is it?

What are you looking for? Here it is.

What's the matter? Please? Sit down. Sit down.

Avigdor, just...

Anshel, I'm going to make you the happiest man in the world.

Yes? Anshel, it is the law, and it's written.

And you like everything written. What's written, Avigdor?

It's the perfect solution. We are like brothers.

If one dies, it is the other's obligation to marry his widow.

Who's died? No one's died. I want you to marry Hadass.

Oh, no. Yes.

Never, Avigdor, I couldn't, never...

Why not? Why not?

She loves you. That's why not. Listen. Let me explain.

Anyway, you're not dead.

Hadass isn't a widow, and I'm not your brother.

In my eyes, you are. In my eyes, you're crazy.

I don't want to marry her! I don't want to marry anyone.

I don't love her. I can't... I know. That's good.

Good. What are you talking about? Will you listen?

No, I don't want to listen.

Don't you see? It's fate. It's meant to be.

Nothing's meant to be. We make what's meant to be.

Anshel, the thought of her with another man is driving me crazy.

Aren't I another man? Yes, but not a total stranger.

You marrying her would be the nearest thing to me marrying her.

I don't want to discuss it any further. Think of her for a moment.

They may marry her off to someone she doesn't even know, let alone love.

She could never love me. So she could never love you.

She likes you. She is comfortable with you.

I could see her. I could visit you both.

The three of us could be together... Avigdor, you're talking like a madman.

Don't let them take her away from me. I'll never see her again.

Wait, think of you then. I am. I am.

She'll take care of you. No.

A wealthy family, a beautiful girl... No! No!

Why do you always have to be different?

Please, that's enough! Your room is downstairs.

What's the matter with you? Any other man would...

Anshel, time will go by.

Tempers cool, things change.

Who knows? Perhaps even her father.

Your marriage could be dissolved. Hadass and I could be...

She means that much to you?

Who better will you find?

Who better will she find?

Do it, for all of us. I can't. It's impossible.

Nothing's impossible.

Just think about it.

I've thought. It's out of the question. The answer is no.

Another question. Do you feel anything for me?

What? Do you?

Of course I do.

Then think again.

More noodles? They're your favorite.

How do you know? You told me last week at dinner.

I don't remember. I do.

It's a little chilly in here.

I thought it was rather warm myself.

Yes, it is warm, for this time of year.

No wonder she suits him She never disputes him Last year, it was also warm.

The conversation's not too exciting But, oh, what a change it must be To spend an evening where there's no conversation Must be a relief after me I'll get dessert.

And though there's nothing much to challenge your mind here Who cares when the food's so delicious?

Not to mention these beautiful dishes A matched set From France yet You look pensive. No, I was just thinking.

About me?

As a matter of fact, I was.

Good thoughts, I hope.

Something smells good. What is it?

It must be the cinnamon in the baked apple.

You bake apples, too?

No wonder he loves her No wonder to me A cushion? Why not?

With ribbons and laces In all the right places Milk or lemon? Yes, please.

I must admit it's all very pleasant and this is a comfortable room Which? Which what?

And if he likes the smell of lilacs and roses Then maybe he likes her perfume Lemon or milk?

And though her silky hair and milky complexion are nice Still, they're not that distracting Anshel? Milky.

What? Milk, milk, milk!

So what accounts for the way he's been acting?


Her softness No honey.

Her sweetness Sugar?

How could he resist her?

An almond cookie?

And why would he try?

How do you get them all the same size?

No wonder he wants her You notice everything.

He needs her The china. Cookies.

No wonder That's really wonderful.

So would I Where are your parents, Hadass? Maybe they'd like some tea.

They're in the study having tea with a guest.

This one's from Zamosc.

Yesterday, there were two from Tolmachev, even older.

Well, I really have to be going.

I may have to leave Bechev if they don't find someone for me here.

I'm sure they'll find someone. I mean, who wouldn't want you?

I mean... Don't you ever think about marriage?

No, no, no. I just think about my studies.

I admire that in a man. That's very good. Well...

Good night.

Good night.

He's not there, Anshel.

He's gone. He took his things and left.


Wagons to Lublin province leaving now. Wagons to Lublin province leaving now.

Wagons to Lublin province leaving now.

Avigdor, don't leave, please. I was wrong. You?

Fight for her. She's worth fighting for. It's no use.

Talk to Vishkower. I tried. He won't listen.

Well, let's go see the rabbi. Maybe there's a law.

There are no laws, Anshel, not for this.

Maybe if you took your nose out of books once in a while, you'd know more about life, about men and women, about love.

How could I expect you to understand? You've never felt it.

Last call for Lublin province. Avigdor!

Oh, my God. Can I carry your suitcase, sir?

Bye, Anshel. I'm sorry about everything.

Asking what I did was my only way of staying, and it was wrong.

No, it's not wrong. I think so.

It's understandable. You're in love.

It was sinful, unnatural. Who knows what's natural?

I was asking the impossible. Don't go, Avigdor.

Everything loaded. Everyone aboard.

Don't go!

I'll come with you!

Wait! Avigdor. Nothing's impossible!


It's impossible. So, we're wrong?

What do you think, Zelig? I never had such a hard time fitting anybody.

The shoulders are... Never mind the shoulders.

Look how tight it is around the chest. It fits. It fits.

This is the way you cut, Zelig. Maybe it's the tape measure.

Look, it's all right. All right?

For Alter Vishkower's son-in-law, we have to do our best work.

Well, it's my coat, and I like it this way. He likes it this way.

Look at him.

Look at me I must be absolutely crazy How did I ever let it get this far?

Take off the coat.

I'm getting deeper into trouble Am I a woman or a man? Am I a devil or a demon?

We've got a problem with the pants. What's wrong with the pants?

Compared to the pants, even the coat looks good. Take them off.

Why? Why?

Papa was right I ask too many questions He said a soul can get perplexed I can't believe what happens next Papa was right Having trouble at the crotch. What's wrong with the crotch?

You'll find out when you go "excuse me" to relieve yourself.

It seems this little game I play becomes more risky every day The pants, please. All right, I'll take them off.

But you'll have to leave the room first. He's ashamed in front of his tailor.

A tailor is like a doctor. What's to be ashamed?

What do you think, Zelig?

Are you crazy? The wedding's tomorrow night.


Tomorrow night? Tomorrow night?

Tomorrow night, tomorrow night Under the canopy I'll stand with her tomorrow night And place a ring upon her hand with her all dressed in white Tomorrow night I don't know how this came about but I'll be wed without a doubt Oh, my God. I got to get out What did you say?

I've got to get out of my clothes. Get back out here.

Look at this Come on, move.

The way one lie begets another Somebody wake me up and say it's all a dream Ouch!

Look at this.

Look how easily I fool them They may have eyes, but they don't see They never really look at me People are blind How else would everyone believe me?

It might be interesting to know just how much further I can go Well, are you blind, Zelig?

Look, the right sleeve is longer than the left.

This will never work. We'll make it work.

Well, at least the hat fits.

Tomorrow night, tomorrow night I can't believe what I'll presume to be Tomorrow night I'm not the bride, but I'm the groom-to-be Tomorrow night And that's a monumental trick I'd better think of something quick Oh, my God, I'm feeling sick It's just the usual nerves before the wedding.

I think I'd better rest.

Rest, rest. You'll need all the rest you can get. Right, Zelig?

I could run away I could leave without a trace Go anywhere or anyplace Where no one knows my face as a woman or a man I don't know, just so I can run away Run away I'd be free, I'd be rid of all of this But there's someone I would miss And being near him is what this Is all about So running away is out Do you think he'll get away with it?

I think we'll get away with it.

Papa, dear You dreamed of dancing at my wedding But something tells me that I'm right You wouldn't want to dance tonight

Take off the clothes. All right, all right. We'll leave the room first.

Come, Zelig, we have a lot of work to do.

All with God's help, amen.

Isn't this A strangely logical solution?

Things may not be as they appear but the advantages are clear He loves her, she loves him He likes me, I like her And I've reason to think she likes me She keeps him, he keeps her I keep things as they were It's a perfect arrangement for three Who'd have ever predicted the moment would come When I'd find myself grateful they've kept women dumb?

She's an innocent maiden but then so am I That's why it's possible I could get by Look, I've seen the impossible happen before Maybe, God willing, it'll happen once more For I feel like a train on a perilous track No way to stop, no way to go back A snowball that's gathering speed down a hill Going faster and faster and faster until Tomorrow night, tomorrow night Even if someone would pray for me Tomorrow night There's not a prayer that they could say for me Tomorrow night Tomorrow night, tomorrow night Tomorrow night Is now tonight



Musicians, please.

The mitzvah dance. The handkerchief dance.

Excuse me. Where are you going, Anshel?

Look, look there. Look at the shoulders.

You're not leaving, are you?

I have a wedding present for you, for both of you.

Thank you. Nachmonides, the holy letter.

He wrote it over 500 years ago.

"Converse with her to put her mind at ease.

"Speak words which arouse her to love, desire and passion, "and words of reverence for God."

Never force her.

Her mood must be as yours.

Win her with graciousness and seductiveness.

Be patient until her passion is aroused.

Begin with love.

And when her mood is ready, let her desire be satisfied first.

Her delight is what matters.

Come along now.

Avigdor, I don't know if I can... Avigdor. Anshel.

Anshel. Your father-in-law's calling you.

Anshel, I have to talk to you.

Remember your obligation.

Yes, Mother. Anshel, come, my son.

As I said, you mustn't be nervous.

See, Eve was made from Adam's rib to obey his wishes, his demands, and so must you.

See, there's nothing to be nervous about. No, Mother. Yes, Mother.

We have protected her. She knows nothing.

But you're the scholar.

So I don't have to tell you to be fruitful and multiply.

Thank you, sir. I know the law.

May your wedding night be as joyful as ours was.

And, please God, a grandson nine months from now.

Esther, it's a wonderful wedding.

Are you too warm?


Shall I open a window? No.

Unless you want to. You're the man.

That's true.

You don't have to be frightened, Hadass. I'm not.

You're not?

Yes, I am. Good.

What? I mean, it's only natural.

But you don't have to do anything you don't want to, Hadass. Anything.

But I do. You're my husband, Anshel. I have to do whatever you demand.

No, that's not so. It's not?

No. According to the Talmud, a woman has the right to refuse her husband. You didn't know that?

No. My mother said... Too many women don't know the law.

So if you want to refuse... I didn't say...

Then, naturally, I respect your wishes.

You're a very considerate man, Anshel.

Only because I know you're thinking of someone else.

Who? I'm not at all, of anyone.

You mustn't be angry with him. What?

Well, any woman would be, wouldn't she? I mean, who was close to him.

You're very understanding.

It's only natural that you wish he were here instead of me. Don't you?

But you're my husband... The thing is... The thing is, Hadass, because you're still thinking of Avigdor, I can't let you commit any unnecessary sin.

Sin? Yes, it's very clearly written that a woman cannot give herself to one man while she's still thinking of another.

You didn't know that? No, I...

Because it's a terrible sin, believe me.

So, tonight, we'll do what you want, which is nothing. I understand.

I don't know what I want. Well, when you do, you must let me know.

You're... You're very hard to resist, Hadass, but I'm not going to force myself on you.

I'll... I'll just have to be patient.

Good. Good.

A drop more wine?

It's our secret. No one needs to know. Our secret.

And our friendship.

A husband and wife can be friends? Oh, yes.

Only one problem. What?

Help me.

In the morning, when they come in, they'll think we've...

But we haven't. Secret.

Wait, no, no, just one bed.

You silly goose.

You tell me.

Truce, truce.


I think I'm going to like being married to you.

Good night, Hadass. Good night.

Hello, Anshel.

Morning, Avigdor.

How are you this morning?


Good. Hey, Anshel!


How's Hadass? Fine.

How's Peshe?

The wedding, everyone seemed to have a good time. Thank you.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. Yeah, everyone.

Everyone stayed late.

Almost everyone, that is.

Hadass enjoyed herself? Did Peshe?

We're talking about Hadass.

You are. Me, I seem to be talking about Peshe. Avigdor!

Avigdor! I'll be right back.

Don't I know you?

Was it in Zamosc? I seem to remember something.

I've never been to Zamosc.

Well, somewhere else then. Maybe...

Oh... Nowhere.

Perhaps I could interest you in the sacred book.

No, thanks. I'm not much of a reader.

Anyway, we buy our books in Lublin.

Listen, big city bookstore, you pay big city prices. Really?

Where's that written? Come on.

Some little village, was it?

Yanev. Somewhere like that.

Yeah, I...

Hadass and I talked, laughed a little... Laughed a lot.

And then she went to sleep.

Anshel, I'm a grown man. You can tell me the truth.

Why is it people who want the truth never believe it when they hear it?

What did you do to her? Nothing.

Come on, tell me. Please. What do you think I did to her?

I don't know. You kissed her, you caressed her, you held her.

All right. All right. That, that. What? What?

I did everything just like you said. What else do you want to know?

Did she make sounds? Did she scream?

She did a little screaming, and then she went to sleep.

Went to sleep?

Anshel. And she talked a little.

Talked? In her sleep? What did she say?

Things like, "Avigdor, I love you." "I love you?"

Go on.

"I adore you, Avigdor," she said.

That's the truth?

Yes, my friend.

That's the truth.

The whole pleasure of having a son-in-law is to go to the bath house with him.

He has a headache, he has a headache.

You go to the bath house, you sit, you talk, you discuss life.

That's a son-in-law. What can you do?

This week, he can't come, he has a headache.

Last week, he's studying. What can you do?

You know what is giving him the headache in the first place?

Studying. Thank you.

When I was young, it was the women who had the headaches.


Raspberry tea.

It's very good for headaches.

Yes, Mother.

So is something else.

That also cures headaches.

What does?

It's probably why God says it's a special blessing on the Sabbath.


It's nature between man and wife.

Mother, what are you saying?

What am I saying?

That you give him a glass of raspberry tea.

Everything I say, you find hidden meaning.

Raspberry tea is very good for headaches.

Thank you. Am I disturbing you?


It's almost sundown, the Sabbath.


My mother says it's a special blessing on the Sabbath.

Going to synagogue? Going to bed.

Unless you're tired. What?

Drink your tea. It's getting cold.

When Avigdor used to call, I sometimes spilled things.

I don't know if you ever noticed. No, never.

It's because he made me tremble inside.

That's love, Hadass.

But you don't make me tremble.

You make me peaceful.

Well, yes. That's the friendship I was telling you about.

You see, in the Talmud... So will you teach me?

Teach you?


Talmud? Talmud?

Talmud. Not the Talmud.

Talmud. Talmud. Why not? Why not, Hadass?

It's the least a husband can do for his wife, the most maybe.

I could never learn Talmud.

That's nonsense. If I can do it, you can do it. Lock the door.

But isn't it a sin? I thought women were forbidden...

Sin, sin, it's not a sin.

Then why are you closing the curtains and me locking the door?

Why? Because I trust God will understand. I'm not so sure about the neighbors.

Come, sit.

What's funny?

You. I've never seen you so excited.

Now, pay attention, Hadass. First there's the Bible, the five books of Moses, which God... Wait a minute. I'll be right back.

Where are you going? Anshel, I have the soup on the stove...

Let your mother do it, please.

The Talmud, on the other hand, is a series of commentaries interpreting the...

What are you doing? I was just pulling a thread...

Well, don't. We're studying. Yes, Anshel.

Now, where was I?

A series of commentaries interpreting the Bible.


The first of these commentaries is called the Mishnah, our code of law.

I'm glad your headache's better.

What is so incredible, Hadass, is that it's a masterpiece of literature, folklore and philosophy.

It deals with astronomy, architecture, medicine, everything from making love to planting Egyptian beans.

Making love?

To planting Egyptian beans.

I thought you said something about making love.

Then there's the Midrash, legends, stories dealing with legal issues.

For example, two men are disputing the ownership of a mule or a flock of chickens, let's say a flock of chickens...

Anshel, while your books argue about chickens, I've had to pluck them.

It's Friday. I've been up since dawn.

I'm too tired to be a scholar on Fridays, Anshel.

I'm sorry.

I'm the one who's sorry, Hadass.

I'm too tired for the special Sabbath blessing, even if maybe you were going to demand it.


Next Tuesday, 8:00.

What about her parents?

What about her parents? I'll just tell them, "Avigdor's coming to dinner." That's that.

Anyway, they're away next Tuesday.

Are you two agreeing or disagreeing?

Agreeing. Disagreeing.

Disagreeing. Agreeing.

He's one second late.



I read a beautiful story today. Really?

David and Jonathan.

Yes, it's a nice story.

Their love was even stronger than a man and a woman's.

I thought you were reading the Book of Job.

I finished it yesterday.

That's wonderful, Hadass.

Who do you love more? Me or Avigdor?

Hello, Sophie. I'll take your hat.

Thank you, Sophie.


Well, this is the one I was telling you about, the one I brought from home.

The first part's about the ancient mystics. It's all a bit elementary, but...

Welcome, Avigdor.

Tell me more. I've told you everything.

It was a very interesting discussion.

And then what happened?

Well, Avigdor was there, too. He'll tell you.

And was Rabbi Zalman angry or did he laugh?

He laughed. Didn't he, Avigdor?

Yes. Did you laugh?

We both did.

I can just see you.

I'll do that. No. That's all right.

But you have a guest. So have you.

Marriage agrees with you.

You're more beautiful than ever. Thank you.

Avigdor, I'm concerned about Anshel.

What are you talking about? Do you think Anshel is happy?

Why don't we have tea in the parlor?

Milk or lemon?



We left off with Maimonides' code of the golden rule.

Let's read chapters seven and eight, and then we can discuss them.

Is that all right? All right.

Don't stop, Hadass. It's pretty.

Look at how he looks at her Will someone ever look at me that way?

Full of all the feelings And the soft unspoken words that lovers say

I thought that I knew every single look And sweet expression on his face Yet this is one that I don't recognize Although I've sat and studied him for hours But now I see how love completely occupies A pair of eyes See the way they gaze at her Like slaves they follow everywhere she goes

Do my eyes forget themselves And do I ever look at him And smile in such a way That what I'm feeling shows?

Sometimes I have the feeling Everybody knows And even though it's crazy Still I can't help wondering if I'll ever live to see that day When by some Miracle of miracles He'll turn around and look at me That way It's no good. I'm sorry. Excuse me.

Avigdor. Avigdor, wait!

Good night.


How many children do you want?

The actual number? I don't think I've ever really...

He didn't make me tremble tonight.

You did, though.

What's even nicer, I made you tremble. What?

When he was leaving, I put my hand on yours.

You were trembling.

Well, what are you doing, Hadass?

I want to look at you. Well, I can't read without my glasses.

When you told me I had the right to refuse you, you didn't tell me I also had the right to demand you.

Who told you that?

The Talmud, the Yebamoth Tractate, I forget what page.

Sixty-three A and B.

It's written, Anshel. You've been studying too hard.

You told me to tell you when I knew what I wanted.

I do.

And it isn't Avigdor, so it's no longer a sin.

Hadass, I...

It's been terrible for you, I know, all this waiting.

But it's all right now.

You don't have to wait any longer.

Oh, God. Oh, God. I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry, Hadass. For what?

For teaching me? For understanding me?

For making me fall in love with you?

No. I can't. I can't.

I feel so certain that you love me.

Everything you do shows me you love me.

What is it, Anshel?

Look at how she looks at me I can never look at her that way Is it me? Am I so...

Do you find me... I find you beautiful, Hadass, beautiful.

Then what?

Full of all the feelings And the soft unspoken words that lovers say There are so many things I wish I could explain to you, things I'd like to tell you.

I feel so...

Maybe you'll feel better tomorrow? I hope so.

In all the words in all the books I wish there were a way to say What she's taught me isn't written anywhere And I'm supposed to be the one who's wise One thing is certain I can never be what she Expects of me

I've wanted the shadows I don't anymore No matter what happens I won't anymore I've run from the sunlight Afraid it saw too much The moon had the one light I bathed in I walked in I held in my feelings And closed every door No matter what happens I can't anymore There's someone who must hear The words I've never spoken Tonight if he were here My silence would be broken I need him to touch me To know the love that's in my heart The same heart that tells me To see myself To free myself To be myself at last For too many mornings The curtains were drawn It's time they were opened To welcome the dawn A voice deep inside's getting stronger I can't keep it quiet any longer No matter what happens It can't be the same anymore

I promise It won't be The same Anymore

I'll miss you.

Oh, you'll have lots to do while I'm gone.

I know, but... Tell your parents I'm sorry.


That I wasn't here when they got home.

You'll see them on Friday. You can tell us all about the big city.

Show them the books you bought.

I baked almond cakes.

You and Avigdor wouldn't last three days without my almond cakes.

Thank you.

Hurry home.

It won't be the same here without you.


Do you remember what we studied last week in the Talmud about patience?

Tell me, what did we read?

"Patience yields many good things." That's right.

And if you have patience, you'll have everything you want.

Children, beautiful children, as many as you want.

Trust me.

I do trust you.

Well, I have to be going.

I'll study while you're away. I want you to be proud of me.

Oh, I am proud of you.

You should be proud of yourself.

I love you, Anshel.

I love you, too.

She's mother She's sister She's lover She's the wonder of wonders No man can deny So why would he change her?

She's loving, she's tender She's woman

So am I

This trip was a good idea of yours, Anshel.

I have a secret to tell you. Tell me.

Not now. All right.

So my crazy plan was crazy after all.


She loves you now.

She only thinks she does. What?

Things aren't always what they seem.

What are you talking about?

You'll see.

Now, what's this secret of yours?

I'll tell you when we get to Lublin.

Look, there's our friend again. I wonder if it ever gets tired.

So, when are you going to tell me? Not yet.

Why not? I just can't.


No, thanks.

So, let's hear this secret of yours.

Maybe I will have a glass. Good. You look a little pale.

So, tell me.


We're friends. What can't you tell me?

All right.

Avigdor, what would you do if all you ever wanted in life was to study, and it was forbidden?

It isn't forbidden. It isn't. But if it were?

What if there was some crazy law that said all men called Avigdor or all men with brown eyes were forbidden to study? What would you do?

I'd study anyway. Secretly?

If I had to. Why?

That would be difficult, wouldn't it? Always hiding, afraid of being discovered.

Yes. What's your secret?

Without Talmud, without studying, you couldn't live. Is that right?

That's right. But you don't... I couldn't live without it, either.

So? So I studied, secretly.

No, you didn't. What are you babbling about, Anshel?

Avigdor, my name isn't Anshel.

That's your secret?

Dear Avigdor.

I don't know how I'm gonna tell you this. Well, don't. I'll guess. Let's see.

I'm not a yeshiva boy.

That's it. You're the chief rabbi of Lithuania. Am I warm?

I'm not any kind of boy. Not the chief rabbi, all right. All right.

My name isn't Anshel.

It's Yentl. Yentl?


I'm a woman.

A woman?

A woman.

Now, my secret.

I'm the czar of Russia. If you don't believe me, I'll prove it.

Stop this, Anshel. I'm not Anshel. I'm Yentl.

I'm not a man. I'm a woman.

Stop it.

I'm a woman, Avigdor. Anshel, I don't like this.

What kind of a game is this?

It's not a game. Not anymore.

What are you doing?

What are you doing?

Oh, my God.

I've only shown you, so you can testify to the rabbis.

It can't be. It is.

What have you done?

Avigdor, listen to me. Don't come near me.

Please, just let me explain. Don't touch me.

Avigdor, don't be afraid of me. I'm not going to hurt you.

Look at you. You're a monster. No. No, I'm not.

Sins, sins, sins upon sins. All I ever wanted to do in life was study, and they wouldn't let me.

"A woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man."

Avigdor, please, I had no choice!

You're a devil. Just try to understand...

Enough! Please! I'm not... I'm not... No, I'm not a devil.

Every commandment broken, every second, every day, every night.

Stay away from me! Please!

What are you, a demon? I'm not. You know...

You spit on the Torah! I love the Torah!

You spit on it! You spit on everything and everyone and nature itself!

In God's face, in my face, in Hadass' face! God, Hadass.

She knows nothing. "She knows nothing." Nothing?

No, she's never...

An innocent married to a devil! You married a woman!

How could you do such a thing? It was your idea!

Mine? This? My doing? Yes.

Why? Come on, you're a man. Come on. Why?

You're a man. Answer me like a man.

I want to know why. Why? Why? Why? You wanted me to!

Why didn't you tell me you were a woman?

I was afraid! Of what?

Of this, of exactly this!

So you lied to me! You lied to Hadass!

God, the things I told you, things I wouldn't even tell a wife!

I'm glad you told me.

What kind of a creature are you? Just a woman.

That's not good enough. I want the answer.

Tell me the answer. Why? Why?

Why? Why? I was afraid!

I wanted to be near you! Why?

I didn't want to lose you! Why?

I loved you.

I loved you.

Oh, God.

Oh, God. Oh, my God.

I loved you.

I thought you didn't understand about love.

No wonder.

My God, no wonder.

All the times I looked at you, and I touched you, and I couldn't understand why.

I thought there was something wrong with me.

There was nothing wrong with you. It was me.

Your skin.

It's so...

Your hair.

It must have been beautiful.

It'll grow.

Your hands.

I always tried to hide them.

Oh, no.

I did... I...

I didn't want to touch you.

I was afraid to.

Your mouth.


I loved you, too.


It's not difficult.

I'll write a statement to the rabbis that the marriage was never consummated.

And you can take it back to Bechev and give it to the rabbis.

The rabbis witnessed it.

Witnessed what, a marriage between two women? It's null and void.

Nevertheless, according to divorce procedures...

No, you're wrong, Avigdor. According to God, it was not a marriage.

This is crazy. I'm arguing Talmud with a woman.

It's not the first time.

Go back to her, Avigdor.

I don't think Hadass will listen to her parents anymore.

Maybe there's something else we can do.

There must be a law or something, a tractate...

Avigdor, there's no book with this in it.

Sometimes right can come from wrong,

virtue from sin.

It's in the Talmud somewhere.

We'll go to another town where no one knows us.

We'll get married. We'll make a home. We'll have children.

We'll... I'll find a new yeshiva. For both of us?

You still want to study?

Avigdor, we've argued the Bible straight back to Genesis, chapter one, verse one.

How could you still ask me that question? You don't need to anymore.

I'll do the thinking. I'll take care of everything.

No, I want to study with you, not darn your socks!

You're asking the impossible. Nothing's impossible!

All right. All right. You can study at night when I come home. No one has to know.

What are we gonna do, draw the curtains, close the shutters?

Don't you understand? I want you to be a real woman.

I am a real woman. Then act like one!

There's no gift from God that is more beautiful and more miraculous.

You know everything without opening a single book.

What more do you want?


Your beard.

I suppose it'll never grow in now.

How could I have been so blind?

Here's a statement for the rabbi and a note for Hadass.

Would you give it to her for me, please?

I will miss you.

I'll miss you, too, Avigdor.

Goodbye, Anshel.



There are moments you remember all your life There are moments you know will be with you all your life His face will be written on my mind

Will be written in my heart As long as I live My dear Avigdor.

After many months, your letter finally reached me.

I hope this one finds you.

Since we said goodbye, I've prayed that despite all the pain I've caused, some happiness would come out of it.

And now you tell me it has.

As for me, I'm going to a new place where I hear things are different.

Anyway, we'll see.

Take care of yourself and Hadass.

I hope she continues with her studies.

She has great promise.

And remember, I will love you both, always.

Tell me where Where is it written what it is I'm meant to be?

That I can't dare?

It all began The day I found That from my window I could only see a piece of sky I stepped outside and looked around I never dreamed it was so wide Or even half as high The time had come Papa, can you hear me?

To try my wings Papa, are you near me?

And even though it seemed at any moment I could fall I felt the most Papa, can you see me?

Amazing things Can you understand me?

The things you can't imagine if you've never flown at all Though it's safer to stay on the ground Sometimes where danger lies there the sweetest of pleasures are found No matter where I go There'll be memories that tug at my sleeve But there will also be more to question yet more to believe Oh, tell me where Where is the someone who will turn to look at me?

And want to share My every sweet imagined possibility?

The more I live, the more I learn The more I learn, the more I realize the less I know Each step I take Papa, I've a voice now Each page I turn Papa, I've a choice now Each mile I travel only means the more I have to go What's wrong with wanting more?

If you can fly, then soar With all there is Why settle for Just a piece of sky?

Papa, I can hear you Papa, I can see you Papa, I can feel you Papa, watch me fly