Touched by an Angel
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Episode 801: “Chutzpah”
Written by: Allen Estrin & Joseph Telushkin and Daniel H. Forer
Directed by: Peter H. Hunt
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.
|Rachel Silverstein||Meredith Scott Lynn|
|Sam Silverstein||David Margulies|
|Eva Silverstein||Carol Locatell|
|Young Rachel||Ashlynn Rose|
After Monica leaves Gloria alone at a Portland bus stop, Gloria learns about the Jewish people…from 3 skinheads. A short time after that, Gloria meets Sam Silverstein. Sam is a sofer, a Jewish man who hand-makes the Torah, the holy scripture. Sam is amazed that Gloria does not know the truth about the holocaust and encourages her to learn about it. Monica gets a job at the Portland Daily News as an editorial writer, where she works with Sam’s daughter, Rachel “Silver.” Rachel is the paper’s editorial cartoonist but her job is in jeopardy because it isn’t edgy enough. Monica also notices Rachel’s extensive “personal collection” of cartoons depicting her father and the Jewish faith in unflattering light. When Rachel invites Monica over to the family dinner to be her “human shield” Monica quickly learns how deep the wounds are between Sam and Rachel.
The next day, Rachel puts one of the “personal jabs” in the paper and immediately her panel, “Chutzpah!” is the hit of Portland. She is thrilled that now she even receives fan mail. However, as her popularity grows, so do the number of Jewish people she offends. Monica writes an editorial criticizing her cartoon and the local rabbi asks Sam to stop Rachel. God reveals to Monica the key turning point in Sam and Rachel’s relationship: when Rachel was 9 years old, she wrote and colored a Torah on construction paper and presented it to her father. Sam, being determined to follow the letter of the law, chastised Rachel by saying “There are no pictures in the Torah, and besides, girls are not allowed make them.” Now, the rift has gotten so deep between them that Sam leads a protest of “Chutzpah!” in front of The Portland Daily News and disowns his daughter on the evening news.
The next day, Gloria goes to the holocaust museum and discovers the truth of the atrocity. She is humbled that Sam did not get angry at her ignorance, but encouraged her to seek the truth. She goes to Sam to make a personal apology to him for the offensive things she said to him at the bus stop. At the same time, Rachel receives a call from a reader who tells her that she “won’t have to worry about that protester” after tonight. When Sam and Gloria arrive at the synagogue, they discover the three skinheads vandalizing the place. Then the vandals turn their bats and knives on Sam and Gloria, however, Gloria reveals herself as an angel, “God made me, He made you, He made Sam. He made us all, He’s the Father of us all…that makes this man your brother, not your enemy!” The skinheads are incredulous and then threaten Gloria, but at that moment Andrew appears among them and addresses the skinheads. He tells them to turn from their anger before it’s too late. He also tells them that they will get caught and pay the price for their crimes. As they try and escape, the police arrive and arrest them, but the damage has been done; they destroyed the synagogue’s Torah and have beaten Sam, breaking both of his hands.
Monica and Rachel arrive and find Sam crumpled on the floor. Rachel realizes that her personal attacks on him and the Jewish people was the catalyst for these attacks. She and Sam reconcile and ask forgiveness for the years of hostile pride. Sam, with his hands still bandaged, happily lets Rachel help him complete the family Torah in the front of everyone in the synagogue on the Sabbath.