4×15: Kaddish

“Truth. Emet means truth. See, Mr. Mulder, therein lies the paradox… because the danger of the truth is contained in the word Golem itself. Which means matter without form, body without soul.” – Kenneth Ungar

Mulder and Scully contend with ancient Jewish mysticism as the forces of love and hate rock a community.


20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Here, we see The X-Files doing yet another of its patented MOTWs examining a marginalized culture/people: in this case, the Hasidic Jewish community that has a large presence in Brooklyn, New York. Written by longtime X-Files writer Howard Gordon and dedicated to his late grandmother, the episode plays as a reverent homage to Judaism. While Gordon is Jewish himself (although not Hasidic), I think the episode presents a balanced tone. I may be biased (being Jewish myself), but the episode certainly handles the culture of the Hasidim much better than any of the other cultures we’ve touched on before. Of course, the episode being conceived by a member of that same culture helps in this department, making these characters seem more well-rounded and not exotic caricatures.

For an episode that focuses so much on the concept of death, “Kaddish” (a Hebrew word for a praise to G-d, specifically in this case the prayer said on the occasion of a death) has a fortuitous place in the season, coming right after Scully’s initial struggles with the cancer that may lead to her own demise. Continue reading