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That was Tzeitl’s last wish. She passed away in Hodel’s arms. This was the reason she had fought death away for such a long time on the journey. Before she left this world for the next, Tzeitl wanted to accomplish one final mission – to bring a message of faith to her sister. Her eyes closed in relief, with a smile on her lips, content that she had succeeded. With a last peaceful breath, Tzeitl’s soul returned to its Maker.

“Blessed be the true Judge,” Tevye said.

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Gently, he helped Hodel lay Tzeitl down on the bed.

“She said that Mama and Motel appeared to her in her dreams,” Hodel told him.

“I believe her,” Tevye answered. “I have seen your mother myself, several times. May they be reunited up in Heaven.”

Tevye led Hodel out of the room. Perchik, Bat Sheva, and Hava were all standing in the doorway.

“What will become of the children,” Bat Sheva asked.

“For the present, they’ll stay with me,” Tevye said. “Later, I will bring them to Ruchel. That was Tzeitl’s dying request.”

“They can stay here with us on the kibbutz,” Perchik offered.

“We’ll see,” Tevye answered without further elaboration. This wasn’t the time to enter into an ideological debate about the education of children.

Tevye said he was going to look for Shmuelik. It was forbidden to bury a corpse on the Sabbath, and he wanted to make sure of the laws. Though a painful remorse filled his whole being, Tevye was determined not show his emotions. The Almighty had loaned him a jewel of a daughter for thirty blessed years, and now He was taking her back.

“The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”

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