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I seem to recall that in Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye rhetorically prefaces popular sayings with the words "Is it not written in the holy books," apparently in the misapprehension that the answer is yes.

But I checked an online transcript, and that expression does not appear.

Am I thinking of some other film?

  • @GendoIkari I can't seem to follow this link. – Chaim May 30 '18 at 17:13
  • Strange, works for me. It's a video clip from the Simpsons of Bart saying "Is it not written in the Talmud..." – GendoIkari May 30 '18 at 17:26
  • This vaguely reminds me of an episode of The Orville, possibly "Mad Idolatry". – Barry Carter May 30 '18 at 18:55
  • @GendoIkari Is it the one about Crusty's relationship with his father? I love that one! – Chaim May 31 '18 at 0:46
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"As the Good Book Says" is a common trope where a character quotes or misquotes the bible (or other holy works). The character is often attempting to appeal to authority, in this case, a holy book.

And in fact, Tevye prefaces a few sayings not with "Is it not written in the holy book", but with "As the good book says". So your memory had the right concept, but the wording was slightly different. Here are some of his quotes...

Heal us, O Lord, and we shall be healed.

If you spit in the air, it lands in your face.

When a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick

good news will stay. And bad news will refuse to leave.

Each shall seek his own kind.

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