web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Forty: Locusts

The next chapter of the award-winning novel.
Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

“Hear this, you old men, and give ear all of you inhabitants of the land. Has such a thing transpired in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? That which the cutting locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten. And that which the swarming locust has left, the hopping locust has devoured. Awake drunkards and weep. Howl all you drinkers of wine, because the sweet wine is cut off from your mouth…. Be ashamed, O you farmers. Wail, O you vine growers over the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field is perished.

The assembly was silent. The voice of the Prophet seemed to echo through the synagogue like a condemnation from the past.

“Sanctify a fast!” Nachman read. “Call a solemn assembly! Gather the elders and all of the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord!”

“We have to make peace with the workers!” a settler stood up and shouted.

Other voices assented. Settlers turned toward the non-religious laborers in conciliation and friendship. Everyone shook hands. A fast day was called for the morrow. In the morning, as dawn rose, the locusts still clung to the crops. The corn fields had been wiped out completely. Ears sagged like empty sacks. Here and there, kernels littered the earth. Stalks, like wounded soldiers, wilted lifelessly toward the ground. Not a tomato was left in Tevye’s garden.

Predictably, the Arab laborers didn’t show up. Instead, the striking union returned to the fields. For the first time in a month, the Jews set off together. But no one knew what to do. If they left the locusts alone, the voracious insects would wipe out the crops. But when the settlers tried to beat them away, they flew into other orchards and fields. Most dangerous of all, Elisha told them, was the chance that the locusts might begin to lay eggs. He had seen storms of locusts in Yemen, and they had always left starvation and ruin in their wake. The only thing that could save them, he said, was a wind that would blow the ravenous grasshoppers into the sea.

Like the sands on the seashore, there were so many locusts, they could never be numbered. The settlers decided to try to shovel them into wheelbarrows and beat them with brooms, but the strategy proved hopeless. The enemy was simply too numerous. True to Elisha’s warning, the locusts hopped away onto other stalks. The women of the settlement followed after the men, carrying shovels and sacks. As the men whacked at the locusts, knocking them to the ground, the women scooped them into the folds of the burlap. Not every woman’s stomach was strong enough for the job, and gradually their ranks began to dwindle. But as soon as the settlers cleared one row of stalks, more locusts would fly through the air to replace them. The settlers and workers were finally united at work, but the peace they had made proved fruitless against their common enemy. When they tried to harvest whatever crops they could salvage, locusts swarmed in their faces. Defeated, the workers returned to their barracks, and the settlers retreated to their homes.

The afternoon brought another dry wind and cloud after cloud of locusts. Darkness fell over the colony. Gloom fell over everyone’s heart. Not a furrow or field was spared in the onslaught. The following morning, a feeling of despair hung over the whole yishuv. Not knowing what else to do, a strategy suggested by Elisha was put into action. Settlers emerged from their kitchens carrying all of the pots and pans they could gather. Like a marching band, they walked along the rows of their crops, clanging the utensils together, making a thunderous noise. Startled by the racket, the locusts flew into the air. All morning long, the settlers chased after the demons, pots and pans crashing like cymbals. Determined to win, the Jews chased the unwanted invaders from field to field until they flew off in a cloud further south. With cheers of success, the settlers returned to their fields. But the joy of their victory didn’t last. The damage was almost total. Most of the season was lost. Only the melon crop was spared, and the carrots, turnips, and potatoes which had been in the ground. But at least they had gotten rid of the enemy.

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. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily 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 Forty: Locusts”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat being carried in a rally last winter.
PLO Blows Up Netanyahu’s ‘Peace Process’ Renewal
Latest Sections Stories
Road sign in Russian and Yiddish greeting visitors on the road just outside Birobidzhan. (photo by Ben G. Frank)

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

Ayelet Shaked

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Teens-Twenties-logo

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Lewis-052215-Jewish-Soldiers-logo

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

Our goal here is to offer you recipes that you can make on Yom Tov with ingredients you might just have in the house. Enjoy and chag sameach!

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Audience at Israel Day Concert

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

Rabbi Levinger (zt"l)

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.

Rav Kook often studied Rebbe Nachman’s writings with guests during Suedat Shleeshi meal on Shabbat

Many think they’re serving G-d but they’re really asleep-Rebbe Nachman taught stories to wake people

Point is, the eyes are the soul’s windows and forbidden images, face it or not, pollute a Jew’s soul

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-forty-locusts/2013/05/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: