“Take this instead,” Ben Zion told him, handing him his rifle.
“What do I need this for?” Hillel asked, bewildered. “I’m a musician.”
“You were a musician,” Ben Zion answered. “Now you’re a full-fledged shomer, with the duty of guarding the collective like everyone else.”
“But I don’t know how to use a rifle,” Hillel protested, knowing that shomer in Hebrew meant guard.
The field workers laughed.
“Don’t worry,” Ben Zion assured him. “You’ll learn. And if you prove to be a good watchman, then God willing, your son will have the chance to grow up to be a musician without any need for a gun. That’s the sacrifice this generation has to make in building our new State.”
Unable to overcome her emotions, Bat Sheva swooned and fell in a faint to the ground. The women rushed to her aid. Hodel slapped her face. A hand held out a gourd of water. Ben Zion stepped forward and bent down to lift her.
“Let’s get her into the wagon,” he said.
Tevye stretched out his hand, halting the rogue’s valiant gesture. They stared into each other’s eyes, like two roosters ready for a fight. The women lifted Bat Sheva and carried her off to the wagon. The sun continued to set in the west. It was time to get ready for Shabbos.