One of Mel Brooks' funniest bits is a scene from his 1981 film A History of the World: Part 1, in which Brooks, in the role of Moses, comes down from Mount Sinai carrying three tablets containing 15 commandments, only to drop one of the tablets, losing the last five commandments as the tablet shatters into bits.
The scene is short, and the third tablet containing the five lost commandments is visible for only a few seconds. We always assumed that the writing on the tablet was some random Hebrew letters, because we never got a good look at them.
On Monday night we watched the PBS tribute to Brooks on American Masters, on which they played this clip. Seeing it on a 55 inch screen in high definition, all we had to do to read the words on the tablets was to push the pause button. And there they were -- the long lost shattered five commandments.
Here's a translation of the five: You can interpret them any way you want -- that's what we've been doing to the surviving Ten Commandments for thousands of years. But our favorites are Lo Tatzkhik or Lo Titzkhak - obviously an inside joke by the Brooks crew, Lo Tikneh - perhaps the basis for not buying retail, and Lo Teshaber - irony of ironies - as the tablet fell to the ground and broke into tiny pieces.
11. Lo Ta'avor - You shall not pass.
12. Lo Tatzkhik - You shall not make people laugh or Lo Titzkhak - You shall not laugh.
13. Lo Tikneh - You shall not buy.
14. Lo Talunu - You shall not stay. (But the third letter may be a resh, which makes translation difficult.)
15. Lo Teshaber - You shall not break.
COME ON, ALL YOU HEBREW LINGUISTS. THIS IS A FIND THAT RIVALS THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS.
LET'S SEE SOME MORE CREATIVE INTERPRETATIONS! POST THEM AS COMMENTS.
Here's the full clip. Enjoy!
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)
P.S. If you missed the PBS Mel Brooks special, it's being shown nine more times during the next week. Here are the listings for Cablevision in the New York-New Jersey metro area. Check your local listings for dates and times on your networks.
- Wed 5/22 5:00AM - 6:30AM, CH 13 13HD
- Sun 5/26 11:30PM - 1:00AM, CH 13 13HD
- Sun 5/26 11:30PM - 1:00AM, CH 713 13HD
- Thu 5/30 11:00PM - 12:30AM, CH 8 NJTV
- Sat 6/1 5:00AM - 6:30AM, CH 8 NJTV
- Sun 6/2 12:00AM - 1:30AM, CH 132 21WLD
- Sun 6/2 5:00AM - 6:30AM, CH 132 21WLD
- Sun 6/2 11:00AM - 12:30PM, CH 132 21WLD
- Sun 6/2 7:00PM - 8:30PM, CH 132 21WLD