Today’s A to Z Meme is sponsored by the Letter Y!
Y is for Yentl. Yentl is my favorite, favorite movie of all time.
Disclaimer: I do not at all agree with Barbara Streisand’s politics. Also, this movie does have some “hiney” nudity. Yes, I’m a prude when it comes to watching such things in a family setting. This is not a family movie in my opinion.
I’m more fascinated with the story of Yentl than with the movie itself. (Although, I must admit, I’m a huge Mandy Patinkan fan from way back and he’s sooo handsome in this movie.)
My love for this movie stems from my love of learning and books. I can’t imagine living in a time when girls weren’t allowed to read books except for fiction storybooks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a fiction writer, and I love the craft of weaving a story. I love reading stories, too. But I also love my nonfiction books just as much.
Yentl lives in a time where girls aren’t supposed to know anything about the Talmud or Torah and her father is a rabbi. Every night he closes the shutters and teaches her. When he dies, so does her life with books and learning. So she decides to dress as a young man and join a yeshiva where she can learn. In fact, she’s at the top of her class, and she falls in love with her mentor (Mandy Patinkin).
But since she’s dressed as a young man, she of course, can’t do anything about her feelings.
In the meantime her mentor’s girlfriend’s father rejects him and he is not allowed to marry her because his brother committed suicide. This is considered dangerous breeding. So he talks Yentl into marrying her. What a mess this all becomes!
Eventually Yentl has to reveal that she’s a woman and writes to her “wife” and family and explains the situation. Mandy Patinkin gets to marry his girlfriend after all and Yentl goes to America. The End.
I would have hated looking at a future without books. All women had to look forward to in her culture was being a wife who cooked, cleaned, and raised chickens and babies. For many women, this is their dream come true, and I admire them for it. But for me, like Yentl, I think I’d have been miserable and would have found some way to get my hands on more books.
I’m grateful I live in this time of knowledge at my fingertips. It does pose its problems, though. It can get confusing. It can challenge my faith. It can easily lead to doubt. One must always temper knowledge with the Wisdom of God’s Word.
What say you? Are you like Yentl or more like what she should have been? Was she wrong to pursue knowledge the way she did? Or do you think women should just accept their lot in life whatever it may be?