Bat Mitzvah and Menorahs

RORY: [examining Paris’ clothes] This is your entire wardrobe?
RORY: Nothing’s left at home?
PARIS: Nothing but my Chilton uniform and my bat mitzvah dress which has menorahs on the collar.

The bat mitzvah is the female version of the bar mitzvah, a coming of age ceremony in Judaism, after which the person becomes responsible for their own actions under Jewish law, and can fully participate in Jewish community life.

For boys, the bar mitzvah is age 13, while for girls the bat mitzvah it is age 12 in Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, and age 13 in Reform Judaism.

A menorah [pictured] is a seven lamp, six branch lamp-stand which has been a symbol of Judaism since ancient times; it is the emblem on Israel’s coat of arms. According to the Bible, the instructions for the design of the menorah were handed down to Moses by God. Traditionally lit with oil, modern ones may be candlesticks instead.

Paris wore a nice outfit to Madeline’s party recently, so I’m not sure it’s really believable that she doesn’t have any clothes to wear, and can’t dress herself.

Henry VIII

RORY: Henry VIII started a new church when the old one wouldn’t allow divorce.
PARIS: He also cut off his wife’s head. Is he still your role model?

King Henry VIII, the father of Elizabeth I, and earlier mentioned. He initiated the English Reformation, which separated the Church of England from the pope’s authority. Rory isn’t quite right that he started a new church – the Church of England already existed, but was originally under Rome – but she is generally correct about the reason.

Henry VIII tried to have his marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, annulled by the pope, and when that didn’t work he took control of the church himself to annul his own marriage. It wasn’t technically a divorce – their marriage was declared null and void in 1533, and from then on Catherine was regarded as the widow of Henry’s older brother Arthur, her first husband.

His second wife was Anne Boleyn (c1509-1536), who was the mother of Elizabeth I. They were married in 1532, and he had her executed by beheading in 1536. She was charged with treason, adultery, and incest, but the evidence against her was unconvincing. Her main “crime” was probably failing to produce a son, as apart from Elizabeth, her other pregnancies ended in miscarriage.


LANE: I have a major problem … Henry, the guy I’ve been dancing with? … Okay so he’s really good in school, he’s going to be a doctor – pediatrician to be exact – his parents are extremely involved in their local church. He himself helps out with Sunday school. He speaks Korean fluently, he respects his parents, and he’s also really cute, very funny, and surprisingly interesting.
RORY: Lane I’m sorry, but I’m totally failing to see the problem here.
LANE: I’m falling for a guy my parents would approve of! They’d love him, they’d go crazy! There’d be dancing in the Kim house! Dancing!

When Lane meets Henry (Eddie Shin) and is genuinely attracted to him, she is horrified to discover that a smart Korean-American future doctor really isn’t such a bad proposition after all. We see now that Lane would never have been happy with any boy her parents set her up with, as what she really wants is someone her parents wouldn’t approve of. Who knows how many nice boys Lane has rejected simply because they were foist on her by her parents?

By the way, this exchange shows that the Kims are not complete religious bigots: Henry isn’t a Seventh Day Adventist as he assists at Sunday school, but Lane’s parents would still approve of him. They obviously don’t insist that their daughter marry someone of the same religion, and just being a Christian is enough.

Sodom and Gomorrah

LANE: Oh my God, there’s a pool table.
RORY: And a deejay.
LANE: It’s like a teenage Sodom and Gomorrah.

Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities north of the Dead Sea mentioned in the Book of Genesis, and throughout the Old and New Testaments. They were destroyed by God in fire and brimstone as an act of divine judgement against them for their numerous sins, and have become synonymous with any decadent vice-ridden area which refuses to repent. It is possible that the story was inspired by a real-life earthquake in the area thousands of years ago, but that isn’t certain.

There is a general belief that the city’s main crime was homosexuality (hence the word sodomy), but it was a whole raft of sins, including cruelty, violence, blasphemy, stinginess, greed, idleness, pride, indifference to the poor, and any number of ill-defined sexual abominations. The Bible calls them lawless and depraved.

“Saturday is the day of rest”

LORELAI: Rory, my heart. It is Saturday, the day of rest.
RORY: Sunday’s the day of rest.

In Jewish and Christian tradition, the Sabbath is the “day of rest”, which is supposed to mimic the rest that God took after creating the universe, as told in the first chapters of Genesis. Jews and some Christian faiths (such as Seventh Day Adventists) believe Saturday is the day of rest, while most Christians think it is Sunday.

Nancy Drew

LORELAI: Honey, he did not plan an entire romantic evening complete with dinner and a junkyard, which we’ll get back to later, and then suddenly decide to dump you for no reason.
RORY: How do you know?
LORELAI: Because I have read every Nancy Drew mystery ever written. The one about the Amish country, twice. I know there’s more to the story than what you’re telling me.

Nancy Drew is a fictional girl detective who first appeared in the 1930 novel, The Secret of the Old Clock. She was created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer as a feminine version of the Hardy Boys mysteries he published, and the books are written by various ghostwriters under the name Carolyn Keene. For her independence and forthright nature, Nancy Drew is often seen as a positive role model for girls. Nancy Drew books are universally popular, and still being published.

The book that Lorelai refers to is The Witch Tree Symbol, first published in 1955, and the 33rd volume in the series. It is set in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and the Amish play an important part in the plot.


LORELAI: Chris, this [sex] is the next to last thing I thought would ever happen tonight. The last thing being a holy saint guy riding down on a flaming chariot from heaven to announce Armageddon.

In the book of Revelations in the Bible, Armageddon is mentioned as the location of a battle at the end of time. Literally, Armageddon refers to an actual place – Tel Megiddo, an ancient city in northern Israel where several Old Testament battles were fought. It’s now in a national park, and has a gift shop attached.

The Bible verse is usually (not always) interpreted symbolically, so that Armageddon is popularly taken to mean any battle between believers and unbelievers at the end of the world, or even more vaguely, any end of times situation involving a clash between good and evil.

Lorelai’s idea of a holy saint riding down in a flaming chariot would thus be the first sign of God’s army arriving from Heaven to announce the battle. The holy prophet Elijah is said to have been taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire, so that might be who Lorelai is thinking of.

“He knows all and sees all”

CHRISTOPHER: Okay, why is that man staring at me?
RORY: That’s Taylor Doose. He owns the market. He knows all and sees all.

A reference to God, who the Bible says is omniscient many times over. For example, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place” (Proverbs 15:3); “God looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:24); and “We know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20) are just a few examples. They are often summed up as, “He knows all and sees all”, and can be jokingly applied to anyone who seems to know everything.