web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Eighteen: Peace in the Middle East

Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

“Embarrass him?” Tevye said in wonder. “You’ve given him the well. You’ve promised him 500 pounds. The only thing you haven’t yet surrendered is the harvest.”

“Would you prefer war?”

“Five-hundred pounds is more than the kibbutz treasury has in reserve,” Bronsky remarked.

“We can borrow from Kibbutz Degania,” Perchik said.

“I feel this is something we should vote on,” Mendelevitch advised.

“A vote was already taken,” Perchik reminded him, “And we won the right to negotiate a settlement.”

“I advise that we take a vote between us right now.”

Perchik hesitated. Bronsky and Mendelevitch were the treasurers of the kibbutz. It was largely due to their tight-fisted policy that the commune was holding its own. If peace had a price, they could be expected to vote against it, even if the alternative meant bloodshed. Karmelisky was a close friend of Perchik, a vote he could trust. That meant that once again, the issue would be decided by Tevye. Hands went up for and against the agreement.

“Well, Tevye, your vote decides,” Perchik said. “What do you say?”

On the one hand, Tevye thought, an Ishmaelite couldn’t be trusted. It was a lesson Abraham had learned long ago. Ever since then, history had proven it again and again, wherever Jews had lived under Moslem rulers. On the other hand, the Jews were still a minority in Palestine and had to survive as peacefully as they could until more reinforcements arrived. Then again, only a fool would agree to pay twice for the same piece of land. On the other hand, if Perchik returned to the kibbutz with a signed agreement, it would be a blow to Ben Zion. To Tevye, that was the most important factor of all. Thus, once again, Tevye sided with Hodel’s husband.

Victorious, Perchik swung his leg over the back of his horse and slid down to the ground. Smiling, he walked up to the sheik and held out his hand. Ceremoniously, the chieftain lowered himself from his mount and accepted the hand of the Jew.

“On behalf of our kibbutz, I invite you to an evening of song and cultural exchange in Shoshana,” Perchik said.

“Perhaps,” the sheik answered.

“There is a lot we can learn from each other,” Perchik continued.

“Perhaps,” the Arab responded.

“Your people have a knowlege of farming, and we have new scientific advancements. Hopefully one day, all fences can come down, and we can live side by side in peaceful co-existence, an example to the world.”

“A wonderful dream,” the Arab said, with no trace of a smile.

To Tevye, the chief did not seem overly enthused, but as Tevye had to admit, only a fool could become excited over Perchik’s crazy meshugenneh ideas.

Pleased with their agreement and with the peace he had made, Perchik returned to his horse.

“Maybe we should get something in writing before we leave,” Bronsky suggested.

“There isn’t a need to force things. These Arabs stand by their word,” Perchik assured.

“The Torah says otherwise,” Tevye advised.

“Your Bible stories are fantasies,” Perchik said. “In these modern times, our task is to reach the heavens without leaving the earth of reality. All men are basically good, Jews and gentiles alike. You just have to treat everyone fairly, and you will be treated fairly in return. No people or religion is better than any other. We are all equal in the eyes of the Creator, and one day we will be a united community of nations without racial hatreds, class inequality, and worker exploitation. How fortunate we are to be the pioneers in this great dream of harnessing the winged horse of utopia with the wagon of pragmatic action and thought.”

Perchik’s speech was a lot of double-talk to Tevye, but he didn’t bother to argue. He knew that debating with his son-in-law was a hopeless affair.

When they arrived back at Shoshana, a Galilee sunset was bathing the kibbutz in a warm golden glow. The stillness of the late afternoon was only interrupted by the sound of Goliath splitting logs, but the whacks of his axe did not spoil the serenity in the air. On the contrary, the sounds of the wood chopping seemed a natural part of the pastoral setting. Before entering the straw-roofed, adobe house where his family was living, Tevye prayed the afternoon prayer in the yard, facing south toward Jerusalem. The tumult of the day melted away, leaving him alone with his Maker. It was a time of reflection, reminding a man that although he was commanded to labor and toil, the success of his endeavors depended on God. When he opened his eyes at the end of the prayer, little Moishe and Hannie stood at his feet.

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 Eighteen: Peace in the Middle East”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Sections Stories
Nimchinsky-102414-Flag

The experience that I was privileged to have this summer was one that was amazing, powerful, and unforgettable. It was a summer of a lifetime. And it’s something that many other groups shared as well. This summer was not exclusive to one group – it was universal. Putting a title on which program was which […]

Schonfeld-logo1

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Kupfer-102414

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

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-eighteen-peace-in-the-middle-east/2012/10/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: