web analytics
July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


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

Tevye in the Promised Land

“Thank the good Lord,” Tevye said when he finally crawled back under the wagon. His rain-drenched clothing clung to his flesh. “Tonight, a miracle has transpired. The son of a rabbi wants to marry Tevye’s daughter.”

Ruchel kissed him. “I am so happy, Tata.”

Suddenly, Tevye raised himself up with a jerk and whacked his head on the planks of the wagon. “I forgot to tell your mother,” he said. Quickly, he scrambled back outside in the downpour. He bent over the coffin and whispered the good news to his wife, Golda.

“Our Ruchela has found herself the son of a rabbi,” he whispered. “You can rest in peace, my Golda. Our luck is finally changing.”

But then again, a man can never be sure. As the Talmud advices, a man should keep good fortune a secret lest the evil eye glance his way. Suddenly, galloping horses thundered by in the night, a stone throw away from the Jews. Tevye recognized the sword-wielding figures of Cossacks. His family sat frozen, holding their breaths until the rumbling cavalcade passed. The darkness of the forest had saved them.

Within minutes, Tevye was asleep, snuggled between his daughters. Nachman fell asleep in the arms of the Zionists. Only Ruchel remained awake with her thoughts of a wedding in Israel, and of the gown she would soon need to sew.

The first time that she heard their horse sneeze, she thought it was from the rain and the chill. The animal neighed restlessly. Its ears straightened, and it started to beat the ground with its hooves. Then a smell of smoke filled Ruchel’s nostrils, causing her to sneeze also. Yells came from the forest. It was Hevedke.

“Fire!” he shouted. “Fire! Branosk is burnt to the ground!”

Tata,” Ruchel called, shaking her father. “Tata.”

Tevye woke up and scrambled to his feet. Quickly, he ran to the road. In the distance, he could see clouds of smoke. The rain had ceased, and a towering fire reached up to the treetops. Ben Zion and his comrades ran past him. Tevye hurried back to the campsite, threw the reins on his horse, and swung onto its back. Nachman ran over and Tevye extended a hand, lifting him up alongside him. They rode off, galloping back down the road. Within minutes, they were back in the village. Pillars of fire blazed all around them. Houses were burnt to the ground. People in their nightgowns lay slaughtered in the street. Others ran in helter-skelter confusion, trying to douse out flames with buckets of water. Crying children searched for their parents. Nachman jumped down from the horse and ran toward his house. Tevye bent down by a man who was pierced through with a saber.

“Cossacks,” the Jew whispered and died.

Down the main road of the shtetl, the barn where Tevye had met Nachman caved in and collapsed. A man staggered out of the burning synagogue, clutching a Sefer Torah. Lungs choking with smoke, he handed the sacred scroll to Tevye. Hevedke appeared by his side. The fire’s reflection flashed over his face. He tried to speak, but couldn’t find words. Ben Zion ran up alongside them.

“They didn’t want to come with us to Palestine,” he said, and he ran off to help with the wounded.

Tevye shuddered and embraced the Torah scroll in his arms. By a twist of fortune, his family had escaped the massacre. If they had spent the night in the village, they too would have been victims. And if the rain hadn’t extinguished their campfire, the Czar’s soldiers would have set upon them. Why had the Almighty protected them, Tevye wondered? Because they were headed for the Promised Land?

Clutching the holy Torah, he headed for the house that Nachman had entered. He climbed the porch stairs and pushed open the door. Dozens of books were scattered on the floor. Bookcases had been toppled. A menorah lay shattered. Tevye set the Torah down on a table. Nachman appeared in the door of the bedroom, his face as white as the kittel worn by the cantor on Yom Kippur.

“Blessed art Thou our Lord, King of the universe, the true Judge,” the young man whispered.

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.

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
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in Be'er Sheba.
Netanyahu: Israel Faces Double Threat, From ISIS and Iran
Latest Sections Stories
Rav S. R. Hirsch

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Singer-Saul-Jay-logo-NEW

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

Everyone in the kehilla can get involved, she added, and mothers can network with each other.

On her first ever trip to Israel last week, popular radio talk-show personality and clinical psychologist Dr. Joy Browne, whose spirited broadcasts regularly attract millions of listeners across North America, paid a visit to OneFamily headquarters in Jerusalem in order to learn more about the physical and emotional challenges faced by victims of terror in […]

With the famous Touro Synagogue, a variety of mansions, each with its own distinct personality, as well as the beautiful coast, Rhode Island makes for an excellent vacation spot.

To avoid all this waste and unnecessary anxiety, let’s break the task down step by step and tackle each one at a time.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Tzvi Fishman at Cemetery of Mount of Olives

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

The "Rightist" author and artist, Tzvi Fishman

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.

The warnings came true: Among the 1000 released terrorists, many returned to terror activity

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.

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: