web analytics
August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter 15: Guardian of Israel

Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

For Perchik, the gatherings in his house were opportunities to expound his philosophies. Not that Tevye wanted to hear, but having to sit out the seven days of shiva in his son-in-law’s domain, he was Perchik’s captive. Perchik felt equally trapped by his father-in-law’s presence, and, like the collegian fencer he was, he used the discussions to score as many barbs as he could in Tevye’s ancient armor.

Since his arrival in Shoshana, Tevye had decided to bury the wounds of the past. And certainly now, in the wake of Tzeitl’s death, family quarrels were forbidden. Furthermore, Tevye was a guest in Perchik’s house. And finally, though Tevye and Perchik were as far apart as the sun and the moon, they had one thing in common. Hodel.

Nu, Reb Tevye,” Perchik inquired as he returned home from work toward the end of a discussion between Tevye and group of visiting kibbutzniks. “Becoming a Zionist?”

“Isn’t God Himself a Zionist?” Tevye answered.

“I suppose that He is, but for all of your prayers about returning to Zion, I don’t see many devout religious Jews flocking to join us.”

Tevye nodded his head. It was an argument for which he had no rebuttal. Now that he had seen the stark beauty of Eretz Yisrael, and felt its holiness saturate all of his being, Tevye could only wonder himself why all of his exiled brothers delayed coming home. Already, like a man crazily in love with a woman, he couldn’t think of being anywhere else.

“On behalf of the kibbutz, I would like to extend a permanent welcome,” Ben Zion magnanimously said. “We want you to know that you have a place with us here in Shoshana if you would like to join our community.”

Perchik flashed his loud-mouthed compatriot an unenthusiastic expression. Having Hodel’s father in Shoshana would finish his marriage completely.

“That’s right,” he said cynically. “Shave off your beard, throw away your tzitzit, and become a part of the Palestine of today.”

“You don’t have to shave off your beard,” Gordon said. “But your fringes and skullcap are relics of the past. Today, a Jew has to make himself over completely. Jewish self-fulfillment will only come through physical labor and contact with the soil. The kibbutznik, not the rabbi, will be the future image of a Jew.”

Tevye grumbled a response. He had grown weary of the orations on the Jew of the future and the ideal society which the new pioneers were building in Palestine. The name Palestine had been coined by the Romans two thousand years before. Conquering the country, the Romans renamed the Eretz Yisrael of the Bible after the Philistines who had dwelt in the land. Similarly, to erase all signs of the land’s Jewish history, they renamed the city of Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina, after the Roman emperor. A parade of conquerors followed, spoiling the land and drenching its borders in blood. They ruled over the country from afar, making its Jewish citizens pay tribute to foreign treasuries. Though Jerusalem was forced to house idols and wear the garb of an adulterous culture, the Jews remained true to their Heavenly city. No other nation made her its capitol. Coliseums, churches, and mosques were built over the remnants of the Jewish Temple, but through all the waves of oppression, Jews stubbornly clung to the one remaining Wall. Throughout the centuries, Jews continued to dwell on their sacred soil, though the majority of the nation had been exiled and scattered to the four corners of the globe. Conquerors raised their banners over the ramparts of the city, blasted their trumpets for a passing fortnight or two, then disappeared from the stage of world history. The mighty kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome all turned to rubble and ruin. Only the Jews lived on, maintaining an unbroken presence in the Land, in defiance of the nations who sought to sever the Jewish people’s bond to their eternally cherished home.

While Ben Zion was an adamant champion of the Jews’ exclusive right to their homeland, Perchik was less extreme in his views. A universalist by nature, he believed that other people could live in the Land as well. He agreed that the rule of the Turks had to cease one day, but the Arabs, for instance, could stay. They were a small and scattered community, comprised of Bedouin tribes who had never ruled over the country, and who had no nationalistic ambitions. They called themselves “Southern Syrians.” To Perchik’s way of thinking, they added a Mediterranean charm to the region. In his literary moods, he spoke of them as “sons of the desert.”

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 15: Guardian of Israel”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility.
Nearing Double Digits in the Democrat Defection from Bad Iran Deal
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

An impressive group of counselors and staff members are providing the boys and girls with a summer of fun and Torah learning and a lifetime of wonderful memories.

South-Florida-logo

Rabbi Sam Intrator recently led a summer program in Williams Island, located in Aventura. The event focused on how to find spiritual joy in Judaism. The rabbi cited biblical and Talmudic teachings, ancient Temple rituals, and the words of prayers to establish the role that love and positive thinking have in Torah values. Rabbi Intrator […]

South-Florida-logo

The Iranian deal was sealed on July 14, four and a half months after Netanyahu’s visit. The details of the agreement were shocking and worse than anyone had imagined.

There are so many toys available for newborn to age 5, but how do you choose?

In 1939, with life getting harder for Jews, she and several friends decided it was time to make aliyah, and applied at the Palestina Amt for permits.

I am not sure how many of you readers have had this experience, but I did and it truly tested the limits of my sanity!

Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

We studied his seforim together, we listened to famous cantorial masters and we spoke of his illustrious yichus, his pedigree, dating back to the famous commentator, Rashi.

Jews who were considered, but not ultimately selected, include Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, David Ben-Gurion, Marc Chagall, Anne Frank, and Barbra Streisand.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

011-OT-Maps-Israel-Tribes

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Detention Camps for US Jews? Sounds farfetched but it did to Japanese-Americans during WW II as well

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

Rebbe Nachman’s stories awaken the sleeping; our film of his stories has the power to wake the world

Going to Mt of Olives cemetery was like visiting Jurassic Park in a jeep with dinosaurs rampaging

To boost aliya, Israel will encourage Marshall’s, Costco, K Mart & Entenmann’s Bakeries to open here

Of course there’s air in America, but it isn’t the holy air of Eretz Yisrael.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-15-guardian-of-israel/2012/09/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: