Raiders of the Lost Prayer

THE SCENE IS TENSE. RENE Belloq, a French archaeologist hired by the Nazi government (ptoo ptoo ptoo) to steal the Ark of the Covenant in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, is about to open the sacred artifact wherein lay the original tablets of the Ten Commandments. Dressed in the garb of the High Priest as detailed in the biblical book of Exodus (and standing before the Ark as described in the same book), he whispers a prayer before raising the lid — and thereby provoking the fiery Wrath of G?d to incinerate the infidels.

Turns out, he was chanting a real prayer. It’s called B’rich Shmei, and is traditionally recited by Jews before their synagogues’ opened Holy Ark (wherein stands a Torah scroll) on Shabbat (Saturday) and festival mornings. According to, the translation goes like this: “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.” Check out their website for more information as well as a clip of the fateful scene.

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