web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Possibly the Greatest Jewish Novel Ever Written

Tevye

When Tevye woke up it was already nighttime. He had no way of knowing the hour. Clouds had gathered over the coastline, blocking the moon’s light. The sand dunes looked foreboding, like giants curled up in sleep. The black, tempestuous ocean roared with a steady growl. At least, Tevye’s weakness had left him. Once again, his mucles responded to his commands. He had mixed too much vodka and wine, that was all.

“Why didn’t you wake me?” he said to the mule, untying its rope from the tree.

Unlike Bilaam’s ass, the mule didn’t answer. But that didn’t stop Tevye from talking. On the contrary, a companion who quietly listened was a man’s truest friend. And in the unfamiliar darkness, talking to the dumb creature made Tevye feel less alone.

Not that he was afraid to journey at night. Hadn’t he ridden his horse through the black forests of Russian on his way home from peddling his cheeses? But then, he had known the paths in the forest like the prayers in his faded and page-torn siddur. The road home to Olat HaShachar was a much greater mystery. In fact, in the darkness, Tevye didn’t know the way back home at all.

“Don’t worry,” he assured the mule as he mounted onto its back. “All we have to do is head east away from the ocean. In no time at all we’ll be home. You can put your trust in old Tevye.”

The creature moved off in a mule’s slow, steady pace. When it reached the summit of the sand dune bordering the beach, Tevye stopped for a look around, but in the darkness, he couldn’t see any paths or tracks in the sand.

“Surely at the top of the next sand dune, we’ll find our way,” he said, more to assure himself than the mule.

In his heart, he felt a faint twinge of worry. It was true that the settlement was only a kilometer or two away, but somewhere up ahead lay the swamp.

The mule made its way down the sand dune and obediently climbed the next hill. The roar of the ocean receded in the distance. At least that was a sign that they were on the right course. Once again, at the summit, Tevye paused for a look, but the landscape seemed even blacker. The moon, which was always full on the first day of the Passover holiday, was shrouded in a thick blanket of clouds.

“It looks like it is going to rain,” Tevye noted.

The mule did not seem to care. Patiently, it waited for a kick in the side and started off down the sandy descent. When they reached level ground, the beast decided to halt on its own. Tevye clicked his tongue several times and flicked at the rope, but the creature stood frozen. In the stillness, Tevye got a whiff of the swamp. Inhaling its musty, stagnant stench, he squinted into the darkness ahead of’ them, but he couldn’t make out a thing.

“Good boy,” he said. “You’re not as dumb as you seem. Now let’s see if we can find the path to the colony. You know where it is. Lead the way.”

Tevye held the rope loosely and gave the animal a kick. He knew there was a trail because they had traveled over it that morning. It was the path the settlers would take when they met the supply boats from Jaffa. The mule had often made the short journey to pick up shipments of lumber and food. Surely, if Tevye was light on the reins, the creature would find the way home by itself.

At the top of the next sand dune, the mule once again jerked to a stop. Tevye gave it a kick, but it stood firm like a rock. Peering forward, Tevye discovered the reason. They were poised at the edge of a cliff! One additional step forward and they would have plunged into the chasm below. Earthquakes along the coast had left fissures and craters, and the caverns were treacherously deep.

“Woooo,” Tevye said.

The milkman gave a cautious tug on the rope. Obediently, the mule responded. It took a few careful steps backward, then turned around on the spot and retraced its path down the slope. When they once again reached the edge of the swamp, Tevye guided the beast to the right. Surely, the road lay in that direction.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." For the past several years, he has written a popular and controversial blog at Arutz 7. A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Possibly the Greatest Jewish Novel Ever Written”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Blogs Stories
Ultra Orthodox Jewish youths studying religious texts at a Yeshiva in Jerusalem

In the Hareidi world, Torah study is worshipped to the exclusion of all else. Nothing else matters

IDF vehicles attacked by Hezbollah with anti-tank missiles at northern border.

Chances are, like in the South, terrorists are building a sophisticated network of tunnels in North.

Hezbollah shooting at Har Dov

9:31pm The Mt. Hermon ski resort on the Golan Heights will be open for business tomorrow morning — having receiving permission from the IDF. 8:03pm Channel 2 reports that Hezbollah terror cell was located 5 kilometers from Israel, and not within Israel as originally thought.Soldiers in 2nd vehicle were saved after they jumped out of […]

Jordana Brown: Ready, willing, and able!

I need a job, my friends. A real life, full-time, pay-the-bills, up at 7, home-after-nightfall JOB!

Ha’aretz claiming Glick is “far from a household name to non-English speaking Israelis” is erroneous

Distinguishing between manipulating and influencing people + 3 steps towards positive communication

Despite “excuses” about not wanting to influence Israel’s election Netanyahu’s views should be heard

Israeli leaders deny reality: Nothing we can do will make the Arabs accept a viable Jewish state

How do we make sure the Holocaust is relevant to new generations?

In 2006, Amona kids saw their teachers and rabbis being thrown from windows as if they were garbage

No money should go to terrorists or their families; anyone involved in terror must pay the price

Responsible Jewish outreach encourages BTs to retain and to enhance their relationship with parents

Israelis will vote for Likud because of Caroline Glick, but she’ll just be Right window dressing.

What are the dynamics of running a family business and what are its impact on family relationships?

The Hareidi paper HaMevaser wanted to have their cake and eat it too: use the photo; lose the women

Producer Chuck Wang explains how you can learn from mistakes and move on towards success.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/possibly-the-greatest-jewish-novel-ever-written/2012/06/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: