Why Indiana Jones’ Nazi-Loving Enemy Said a Torah Prayer



Listen carefully to the words of Nazi sympathizer René Belloq, Indiana Jones’ archnemesis, in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark just before he opens the Ark of the Covenant. Dressed in the garb of the Biblical High Priest, Belloq recites the following incantation:

La al enash rachitzna, v’la al bar elohin samichna…d’hu eloha k’shot v’oraytei k’shot…Bei ana rachitz v’lishmei kaidsha yakira…tushbechan.

Despite Belloq’s odd pronunciation, regular shulgoers may recognize the words as excerpted from the B’rikh Shmei prayer traditionally recited on Sabbath and Festival mornings in front of a very different ark: the opened Torah ark.

“I do not rely on man, and I do not depend on any angel…but on the God of truth whose Torah is true…I rely on Him, and to His holy and precious name…praises.”

It seems like an odd choice for recitation by an amoral anti-Semitic profiteer who hopes the Nazis will harness the power of the Ark of the Covenant. But maybe that’s exactly why screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan or director Steven Spielberg had him say it: Jewish Hollywood’s getting the last laugh. Sorry, Nazis.

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