web analytics
May 30, 2015 / 12 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter 14: The Dybbuk

Tevye in the Promised Land

“You are my wife, and you will do what I say,” Perchik commanded when Hodel refused to give in.

“Who says that a wife has to do whatever her husband demands?” Hodel retorted. “That’s just some foolish old-fashioned nonsense.”

Perchik understood the barb in her message. After all, he could not preach the equality of all people, and treat his wife like a slave in the privacy of their home.

“Anyway,” Hodel continued. “I am not just your wife. Soon I will be a mother, and I have an obligation to my children. Being with my family again has made me realize that I have a responsibility to educate them as Jews.”

“I will decide what we will teach our children,” Perchik answered.

“Is that so?”

“Yes, that is so.”

Hodel heard her husband’s answers, and wondered why he sounded so differently now. She realized that this was the way he always spoke, authoritatively, dogmatically, egotistically, imposing his worldview on their marriage. It had been that way from the start, when as a young sheltered girl, she had been swept away with his certainty and knowledge, as if he possessed all of the truths of existence. On their long walks through the woods of Anatevka, he had transported her out of the tiny village to new and breathtaking worlds. Like a child, she had gone along for the ride, trusting in his confidence and wisdom. But now she was no longer a child. She was about to have a baby of her own, and Tzeitl’s death had reminded her that life did not last forever.

“Do you know why Tzeitl wanted her children raised by Ruchel and Nachman, and not by us?” she asked. “Because she wanted them to grow up in a good kosher home.”

“That’s fine with me,” Perchik answered.

“Well it isn’t with me. I’m ashamed.”

“Hodel stop it. Don’t you see what has happened? Your father has been here a week, and already we are fighting. When was the last time we had a quarrel before that? I can’t even remember.”

“That was because I always listened to you. I always accepted your way. But I have a mind of my own.”

Perchik nodded, remembering how strong-willed his Hodel had been with her parents when they had opposed their marriage.

“Isn’t that one of your sacred principles?” she asked. “Freedom of thought and expression? The liberation of the workers from the oppressive ruling class?”

“Are you implying that you are being oppressed in this house?”

Hodel didn’t answer. For a moment, they faced one another in silence.

“Shouldn’t women have rights? Aren’t we allowed freedom too?”

“You are my wife,” he said, flustered.

“Now you sound like my father,” she said. “Before anything else I am a person. Soon, with God’s help, I will be a mother. And along with everything else, I am a Jew.”

“All right,” he said, not wishing to continue the argument until he had formulated a clear line of reasoning and proofs. “You set up the kitchen the way that you want.”

“Back to the kitchen, is that it? Now you really sound like my father. What about all of your modern ideas? Do they apply to everyone in the world except for your wife?”

“What more do you want?” he asked.

“A real Jewish Shabbos.”

“You know I can’t agree. I came to Israel to work the land, not to sleep and eat chulent.”

“The Sabbath is only one day a week.”

“You do what you believe is right, and I will do what is important to me.”

“What kind of marriage is that?” Hodel asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered. “All I know is that until today we had no problems, and now that your father has come, it is as if we were back in Anatevka.”

Angrily, he strode out of the house. The door slammed shut. Hodel shuddered. Their fight had exhausted her. Standing up to her husband was no easy matter. It was true, their life together had been a united endeavor until her family arrived. What had happened? What change had taken place? Standing alone in the room, Hodel could only pray, as her father always did, that everything would work out for the best.

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 14: The Dybbuk”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz Calls for Financial Boycott of Universities Backing BDS Israel
Latest Sections Stories
Respler-logo-NEW

When I complain, she tells me it is retail therapy.

West-Coast-logo

Tal Dimenstein has been selected to present her ELI Talk about Appreciation during this year’s conference in Chicago.

How is it possible that some of our people cannot see what I see, the miracle of the existence of the state of Israel?

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

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/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-14-the-dybbuk/2012/09/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: