When Tevye’s entourage reached the port of Jaffa, hoping to discover something about their fellow travelers who had set sail to Palestine ahead of them, the first thing he saw gave him the shivers. Hadn’t he just asked Rabbi Kook for a blessing to find husbands for his daughters? Who was sitting at a dockside cafe but Nachman’s two friends, Shmuelik and Hillel! For weeks, they had been waiting for Tevye and Nachman to arrive in the Holy Land. Like long lost relatives, everyone rushed to embrace. “Shalom aleichem!” they called.
“Aleichem shalom!” Tevye answered.
“May your coming be blessed and your prayers all be answered,” Shmuelik joyfully wished.
“Amen,” Tevye answered. “Amen.”
Nachman’s friends grabbed his hands and swung him around in a dance. Tevye turned toward his daughters who were watching from the wagon.
“Tzeitl, Hava, Bat Sheva, come quickly!” he called. “Look who fell out from the sky! Our old friends Shmuelik and Hillel!”
It was a match made in Heaven, Tevye thought. Several matches at once! With a father’s imagination, Tevye dreamed that Shmuelik would marry Bat Sheva, Goliath would marry Tzeitl, and after Hevedke failed in his studies, please God, Hillel would make Hava his wife. Satisfied with the happy futures awaiting his daughters, Tevye seized the hands of his companions and joined the festive circle of singing. Ignoring the ominous glances of Turkish soldiers who were looking their way, the Jews threw their heads back and sang up to Heaven a traditional wedding tune.
“Soon we will hear
The singing of the chatan and kallah,
The joy of the groom and the bride,
On the hills of Judea and Jerusalem.”
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.
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