web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Four: Fear No Evil

The next chapter of the award-winning novel.

Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

When the festival of Pesach arrived, all work on the new settlement came to a halt in order to get ready for the Passover holiday. Tents had to be searched for chametz, and matzot had to be baked. As Tevye confided to Guttmacher, at least one thing about their new life in Olat HaShachar was easier than it had been in Russia.

“What’s that?” the undertaker asked.

“Searching for chametz.”

Guttmacher laughed. It was true. Their tents hardly had any furniture. Within minutes, all pieces of leaven and bread crumbs could be swept from the house. There were no sofas to move, no cabinets and dressers to clean, nor kitchens to scrub. But just the same, since the Master of the Universe had commanded them to remove all traces of leaven from the house during the seven day Passover holiday, they searched diligently just as Jews had been doing since the exodus from Egypt three-thousand years before. Tevye got down on his knees with a candle and feather to peer under the folds of the tent for crumbs. And sure enough, his love for the mitzvah was quickly rewarded. He didn’t find any traces of cake or bread, but he did find two curly-tailed scorpions whose sting was known to be deadly.

When it came to baking the matzot, the industrious scene could have passed for Anatevka. A special oven for baking the thin unleavened bread was made out of brick. Water from a nearby well had been stored overnight so that it would be cool at the time of the kneading, to be sure that the flour wouldn’t leaven. When the baking began, the men pounded the flour paste on top of tables and kneaded it without stopping until each batch of dough was ready. Once the flour and water were mixed, and the dough was flattened and slid into the oven, if more than eighteen minutes had passed, it had to be burned or fed to the animals before the holiday in fear that it had already leavened. Nachman was given the honor of separating the priest’s due, or challah, a mitzvah which was done only in Eretz Yisrael. Tevye, who was in charge of the kneading, made sure his workers kept shouting out, “L’sham matzah mitzvah-for the sake of the commandment of matzah.” By the middle of the frantic baking, everyone was sweating. The workers burst out in a spontaneous song.

“Just as God gathered us out from Egypt, he will gather us from the four corners of the earth!”

Surely, a Turkish passerby would have thought the Jews were crazy. What normal man became so ecstatic about baking such poor-looking bread? No outsider could ever understand the great secret of their joy. The joy of doing God’s will. The joy in knowing that the words which they were singing were sure to come true.

Shimon wanted the pioneer chalutzim to keep working during the intermediary days of the seven-day holiday. He maintained the commandment of settling the Land of Israel took pecedence the prohibition of working on Chol HaMoed, the intermediary days of the holiday, if the work was vital to the success of the yishuv. Of course, this ruling brought groans from the settlers, who were tired of the swamps, the ditch digging, and the planting of eucalyptus trees. Pesach was Pesach. In Russia, they hadn’t worked during the seven-day holiday. Why should they here? Nachman was prepared to side with Shimon, reasoning that the work of draining the swamps could save lives, and this justified working on the festival.

“Going into the swamps is what kills people,” Tevye argued, “not staying out of them.”

While his point was well-taken, it wasn’t completely correct. Dozens of settlers had fallen victim to yellow fever and malaria without actually descending into the swamps. Since the Morasha settlers had arrived, the swamps had claimed two further victims among the “Lovers of Zion.” A father and son who were working in the fields near the marshes at the other side of the settlement had come down with the fever and died. The disease-carrying mosquitoes could fly wherever they wished, making the whole vicinity a hazard. But since the overwhelming majority of settlers were in favor of rest, a vacation from work was declared. The mosquitoes could wait. Passover was the festival of freedom, and people were happy for a chance to forget about the dangerous labor of draining the swamps.

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." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.


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 “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Four: Fear No Evil”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Shimon Peres and Tony Blair shake hands in Jerusalem.
Tony Blair Steps Down as Quartet Middle East Envoy but No One Cares
Latest Indepth Stories
Naomi Klass Mauer (r) visits with Ida Nudel in Israel.

Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviet’s persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined

SADNA

{Guest columnist Sarah Manning) Jenny and Sima Solomon are joining with women from all over Israel to swim across the Kinneret to raise funds for Sadnat-Shiluv, a unique program of empowerment for young adults with special needs. Hundreds of religious women are expected to gather on the Kinneret shore for the annual Swim4Sadna women-only sponsored-swim […]

Robert Wistrich (z"l)

Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry

J-Street

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Audience at Israel Day Concert

The warnings came true: Among the 1000 released terrorists, many returned to terror activity

Rabbi Levinger (zt"l)

Torah is to be lived. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was a completely living Torah, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael

Without Israel, the Jewish People are scattered nomads lacking Torah’s true national grandeur&power

If other pleasures exceed the joy we feel for Jerusalem, then something is wrong with our Judaism.

There will be peace when we listen to G-d and do want he tells us to do – all for our very own good.

Rav Kook often studied Rebbe Nachman’s writings with guests during Suedat Shleeshi meal on Shabbat

Many think they’re serving G-d but they’re really asleep-Rebbe Nachman taught stories to wake people

Point is, the eyes are the soul’s windows and forbidden images, face it or not, pollute a Jew’s soul

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/tevye-in-the-promised-land/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-thirty-four-fear-no-evil/2013/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: