THE TORAH – The Director’s Cut by R. E. Dinlocker

The TorahA mist appears in a writer’s office.  Oy vey!  It’s God!   And he wants the writer to work up a modern, updated version of the Torah, well, it would seem actually of the Old Testament.  Who can say no to God?

This is a funny book, and has that Mel Brooks Thousand Year Old Man feel, and that Carl Reiner one-liner touch.  Such as:

The author says:  “And you want me to help rewrite this?”

And God answers:  “Just the Torah.  The rest is sequel.”

Author:  “But I write fiction.  Is this fiction?”

God:  Everything was fiction in the beginning.”

So you can see how this is going to be a theological comedy routine, so you get out the Doritos and settle in for a good laugh.

“You really wanted the Bible to start that way?  “You want better, ‘it was a dark and stormy night’?  God sighed, ‘The dark I had already.  The stormy and the night, I didn’t create until later.  You ever try creating in the dark?”

“OK, so I had light and dark and the in-between stuff on the Second day.  But the earth was still a mess — like a teenager’s room it looked.”

Who knew God talked like a first generation New York Polish Jew?  He sounds like Yoda.

Oh, here’s something interesting:

“Ancient Hebrew had no vowels.  I wrote Nephilim in ancient Hebrew.  Take the vowels out of Nephilim and you got what?

I frowned, “Nflm?”

“And take off the pluralizing ‘m’ sound?”

“…NFL.  So they were football players?  Giants?

“There’s a preacher in Dallas who thinks NFL players are descendants of giant fallen angels who mated with humans and caused the human race to deteriorate into sin.”

And we even have Jewish jokes:

OKay, the Yesiva Rowing Team always loses.  Their coach tells the Yeshiva captain to spy on the Harvard team, because they always win.  The Captain watches the Harvard train and reports back.  He tells the coach, ‘You know how Harvard wins?  When they race, only one person yells; the other eight row.”

Bada bing, bada boom.

As God and the writer discuss the events as recorded in the bible, the personalities discussed  appear and disappear.  Most of them sound like characters straight from Yiddish theater, although the serpent in the Garden of Eden sounds like Edie Murphy.

There is almost no narration; the entire story is carried out in dialogue, with the various characters chiming in from time to time. I felt like I was reading a stage play.

Frankly, funny as it was, I found it to be too long,–  too rich, as it were.  And although there was a joke in almost every line, it became — for  me — tedious, kind of like eating an extremely rich dessert.  After diving in and enjoying it and thinking you can’t get enough, all of a sudden you realize you have overeaten.

Great idea, great execution, but I would have enjoyed it more as a short story than a novel length work. But I must say,  you will learn a great deal about the history of the people of the bible.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s