web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Five: A Husband For Ruchel

Tevye in the Promised Land

The milkman didn’t answer. He gazed forward into the darkening evening. Only Ruchel stared back down the road hoping that Nachman would come running after their wagon. But no one appeared. They turned a bend, leaving the shtetl behind. A ditch in the road jolted the wagon and Ruchel’s dreams of a husband. She sighed and faced forward, but then, out of a corner of her eye, she saw a figure materialize out of the shadows of the forest. A beat of excitement rushed through her heart, but for naught. The tall, upright figure wasn’t Nachman, but the indefatigable Hevedke.

“Don’t worry,” Hava said, sensing her sister’s thoughts. “Your turn under the marriage chuppah will come.”

When Tevye spotted the Russian poet, he growled.

“It is a sin to murder,” he said, glancing up to the treetops, “So why must You send this devil to tempt me?”

Before long, they came to a clearing by the side of the road and agreed to make camp for the night. The men gathered wood while the women arranged a frugal meal, and once again two fires were lit, one for the Zionists, and one for Tevye and his family, a modest distance away. Everyone huddled around the warming blazes to ward off the evening chill, but the Almighty had other plans for the night. A burst of lightening flashed in the sky. Thunder rumbled in the treetops. Rain poured down from the heavens like brimstone. Within moments, the campfires were quenched. Tevye gathered his brood under the wagon, while their companions scattered for the shelter of trees. The rain pounded on the canvas stretched over Golda’s coffin. A bolt of lightening lit up the forest. A tree cracked in half and toppled to the ground with a crash. Little Moishe and Hannie started to cry.

“Fear not my treasures,” their grandfather said. “Hasn’t the Almighty promised not to destroy the world again with a flood? And things could be worse. We could be standing outside in the rain like our companions.”

“Or like Hevedke,” Hava added.

“A torrent should wash him away,” Tevye said.

“Why do you want him to drown, Zaida?” Moishe asked. “He’s married to Hava.”

“He is married to Hava like my horse is married to a fish,” Tevye answered.

“How can a horse marry a fish?” the young child asked.

“It can’t,” Tevye answered. “Horses marry horses, and fish marry fish.”

Just then, someone came running toward the clearing.

Shalom, shalom,” he called out.

It was Nachman. He was carrying a bulging handbag in one hand and a suitcase in the other. He bent down under the wagon, said a hasty hello, and left his belongings with Ruchel.

“Take care of my books,” he said and hurried off toward the trees where Ben Zion was waiting to greet him.

“Welcome, welcome, son of Israel!” the speechmaker exclaimed. “I trust you have come to enlist in our lofty mission.”

“With the help of the Almighty,” Nachman responded.

“Whether He helps or He doesn’t, it’s all the same to us. Just let Him not interfere.”

Tevye crawled out from under his wagon. He threw the cover off of their chest of belongings and held up a bottle of vodka. “To Zion!” he shouted.

Like the meshugennehs they were, the crazy Zionists joined hands and started to dance in the rain. “Zion, Zion, Zion,” they sang in the black Russian woods. Ben Zion dragged Nachman into their whirl. With a healthy slug of vodka warming his belly, Tevye joined them. He grasped Nachman’s hand, and with the joyous simcha of a wedding, they swirled round and round in the mud. Ben Zion held the bottle of vodka to the young rabbi’s lips. The bottle changed hands until it was finished. The ground spun. Trees and clouds swirled around and around as they danced.

“With your permission,” Nachman said to Tevye. “I would like to marry your daughter.”

“Permission granted,” Tevye agreed.

With a cheer, the dancing continued. The women were all giggles under the wagon. Everyone congratulated Ruchel and showered her with mazal tovs and kisses. Discreetly, they joined in with the traditional wedding song, “Let soon be heard in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the call of the groom, and the song of the bride….”

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.

3 Responses to “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Five: A Husband For Ruchel”

  1. Reuven Kossover says:

    Sounds like the stories my father told me of life in Poland during the Great War.

  2. Amira Mele says:

    (continuation): and NOT ENOUGH WORDS I CAN EXPRESS A "LOGIC" ANSWER to this. I FEEL STRONG FOR YOU JONATHAN and I hope for you to receive the energy and strength for ever that you need to have! I SUPPORT you fully,
    Amira Mele
    Carson City, NV
    LOVE and PEACE
    שלום ואהבה!!! ,
    אמירה מילי
    קארסון סיטי, נוואדה

  3. Devorah Barak Cohen says:

    Are you really in Carson City Nevada???? When caN WE get together????

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Sections Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Astaire-022715-Countryside

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

South-Florida-logo

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.

Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

A program that started with a handful of volunteers has grown exponentially to include students from a wider array of backgrounds.

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

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-five-a-husband-for-ruchel/2012/07/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: