Touched by an Angel

Season 3 Episode 5

Written In Dust

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 06, 1996 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Written In Dust
Henry Moskowitz, a proud archaeologist on a dig at a Navajo excavation site, receives a surprise visit from zayda (grandfather). Sam hopes to reconcile with his grandson and Jewish family faith by basking 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 grater 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 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 and tells him only Henry can reconcile himself to God. Sam finds his grandson and attempts 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 him that 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.moreless

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  • Interesting culture combiniation of Judaism and Navajo

    Russell Means is an outspoken activist for Native American rights in real life, and I was afraid this episode would wind up wallowing in political activism. But the moment that made this episode meaningful for me was during the campfire scene when Dylan explains why he believes that both archaeological study and the preservation of his Indian culture are important. Means' reply is that a compromise is definitely in need.

    The one thing about this episode that seemed unclear to me was Dylan's frequent visions of Andrew, the Angel of Death. I expected him to be the one who gets killed. But instead its the grandfather.

    The joint Jewish-Navajo funeral for the grandfather was a clever ending.moreless
Harold Gould

Harold Gould

Sam Moskowitz

Guest Star

Corey Parker

Corey Parker

Henry Moskowitz

Guest Star

Russell Means

Russell Means


Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


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