Touched by an Angel

Episode 304: “Written In Dust”

Episode 304: “Written In Dust”
Original Air Date: October 6, 1996

Written by: Ken LaZebnik & Jack LaZebnik
Directed by: Peter Hunt
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
Robert J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:
Sam Moskowitz Harold Gould
Henry Moskowitz Corey Parker
Edison Russell Means
Dillon New Eagle Adam Beach
Rosemary Fitzgerald-Moskowitz Holly Fulge

Henry Moskowitz, a proud archaeologist on a dig at a Navajo excavation site, receives a surprise visit from his zayda (grandfather). Sam hopes to reconcile his grandson to himself and his Jewish faith by asking him to say kaddish–the Hebrew prayer for the dead–for him. Henry resists the reconciliation effort, still angry that his late parents disapproved of his marriage to a Catholic woman. Refusing to get in the middle of the strife, his wife leaves the dig site. Monica and Tess, posing as a research assistant and as a photographer, soon find themselves embroiled in a greater conflict.

A group of Navajo elders led by Edison disrupt the dig, stating the site is on sacred ground. Although Henry quickly dismisses their claim, Sam and Edison discover common ground in the similarities of their respective cultures. Even Henry’s student intern, Dillon New Eagle, begins to doubt the appropriateness of the excavation. After a dream about his own grandfather–in which Andrew enigmatically appears–Dillon joins Sam, Monica, and the others in a boycott of the dig. Furious, Henry stalks off. Later that night while exploring the excavation site by himself, he falls into a hidden cave. Gathered around a campfire with the others, Dillon recalls the story his grandfather told him years before: the excavation site was the location of a massacre against the Navajo by Kit Carson.

Simultaneously, Henry finds archaeological evidence of that atrocity. While looking for him Sam encounters Tess, who reveals herself and tells him only Henry can reconcile himself to God. Sam finds his grandson and attempts a rescue, but the elderly man falls into the cave and succumbs to a heart attack. Henry rails at God for his zayda’s death. Monica then appears and tells the archaeologist the peace Sam wanted for Henry was with God, not with him. Tess subsequently leads the others to his location, and he is rescued. Buoyed by Monica’s revelation, Henry apologizes to Edison and destroys the dig permit. Monica then explains the kaddish is not just a prayer for the dead but is a prayer praising God by saying God is above all praise–a gift of peace to help the living carry on.

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