web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter 12: Hodel

Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

Finally, after a sweltering, week-long journey, a shimmering blue hallucination materialized out of the haze in the distance. They had reached Lake Kinneret, also called the Sea of Galilee, shining in the sun like a jewel. With a cheer, Tevye urged the horse forward. Goliath ran to keep pace with the wagon. Further north along the winding hillside road was the holy city of Tiberias, where they would spend the Sabbath. Fully dressed, everyone rushed to jump in the lake to cool off in its sparkling fresh waters. Tevye knelt on his hands and knees alongside his horse and lapped up the fresh, life-giving liquid. Then, like a king in a royal bath, he rolled over on his back in the shallows and let the gentle waves of the lake massage his weary bones.

Refreshed, the pioneers continued toward the city of Tiberias, burial site of the great Jewish sages, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Yochanan, the Rambam, the Ramchal, and Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess. But a blockade on the road prevented them from reaching the ancient lakeside city. Turkish soldiers ordered the wagon to halt. Shmuelik, who knew Aramaic and Hebrew, and who had picked up rudiments of the Arabic language and Turkish during his month in Jaffa, acted as interpreter. Apparently a plague of cholera had broken out in the city, and dozens of people had died.

“Among the Jews?” Shmuelik asked.

“Why shouldn’t the Jews be stricken along with everyone else?” the soldier answered. “We all drink the same water. People drop dead every day.”

Tevye spit up a few drops of the mouthfuls of water he had swallowed in the lake. The news of the plague dampened everyone spirits. Perhaps invisible bacteria were already invading their blood. One of the red-caftanned Turks asked what business they had in Tiberias. When Shmuelik told him where they were headed, the soldier said that the village of Shoshana was only a two hour ascent up the mountain. Tevye wanted to know if the kibbutz had also been hit by the plague, God forbid. The soldier shrugged. He hadn’t heard anything. He acted like he really didn’t care. Obediently, Tevye swung the wagon around in the road. Hoping they had found the right trail, the group set off into the mountains.

There were wagon-wheel tracks along the primitive path, some drying horse dung, and signs that a sheep herd had recently passed. Suddenly, up ahead of the wagon, an Arab tent topped by a red Turkish flag was stationed at a bend in the road. Two nasty-looking Arabs clutching rifles stepped out onto the trail, blocking the path of the wagon. Tevye tugged on the reins. Goliath protectively walked forward alongside Tevye’s horse. The taller of the two Arabs barked out angry orders. At first, Shmuelik didn’t understand what he wanted. Frustrated, the Arab began yelling. Goliath stood tensely, waiting to pounce. Finally, the Arab shouted the word, “Tobacco.” Shmuelik told him they didn’t have any. Angrily, the Arab shouted the word tobacco again. Ominously, he raised the rifle which he held cradled in his arms. Once again, Shmuelik began to explain, but Hillel interrupted before he could finish.

“I have some tobacco,” he said.

He opened his traveling bag and fished out a pouch of tobacco. “They told me it makes a good bribe with the Arabs,” he explained to the others in Yiddish. “Under Turkish law, tobacco is outlawed. This must be some kind of checking station. You can be sure our two friends are going to keep the booty for themselves.”

He flipped the pouch to the Arab, who snatched it from the air with a smile. Grinning, the unsavory couple returned to the shade of their tent. When the roadway was clear, Tevye whipped the reins of the wagon and hurried the wagon on down the trail.

“I wonder what they would have done to us if we didn’t have any tobacco to give them,” Bat Sheva said.

“They probably would have cut off our hands,” Hillel answered.

The girl looked at him seriously. “Maybe we should invest in a rifle,” she said.

Tevye laughed. The idea was amusing. “Who ever heard of a Jew with a rifle?” he asked.

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 “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter 12: Hodel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Herzilya's vertical cemetery vaults.
Police Disinter PA Arabs Sleeping Peacefully in Herzliya Graves
Latest Sections Stories
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Astaire-112114-Horse

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

L to R: Sheldon Adelson, Shawn Evenhaim, Haim Saban

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

South-Florida-logo

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

It was a land of opportunity, a place where someone who wasn’t afraid of a little hard work, or the challenges of adapting to a different climate and culture, could prosper.

Rule #1: A wife should never accompany her husband to hang out with his buddies at a fantasy football draft. Unless beer and cigars are her thing, that is.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-12-hodel/2012/09/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: