web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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.

“It’s all right,” Tevye said, snatching her up in his arms.

Her face was bleeding from scratches, but otherwise she seemed all right.

“Can you run?” he asked Moishe.

“Sure,” the boy said.

“Grab a hold of my pants,” Tevye told him.

Carrying the girl, Tevye headed back toward the house. Moishe ran alongside him. Once, he slipped, but Tevye held him up by the collar. Battered and bleeding, they made it safely back to the house. With a groan of relief, Tevye collapsed into a chair. His little son, Tzvi, looked up from the floor. Seeing his bloodied father, the child started to holler and cry.

“Wash the blood off of your face,” Carmel told her husband as she rocked Hannei back and forth in her arms. “You’re frightening the child.”

“Thank God the baby wasn’t outside in the fields with you,” Tevye replied. “The locusts might have carried him away.”

Tevye wasn’t joking. In the first plague of locusts, four lambs and a dog had disappeared. Whether they had run off, or been eaten by the locusts, nobody knew. This time, after another week-long invasion, three goats were missing. When God’s wrath abated, the settlers once again took up their pots and their pans and started chasing the locusts off of their devastated property. Once again, the settlers and the union workers got down on their knees to search for the eggs left behind. Ditches were dug and more arsenic was shipped in from Jaffa.

A feeling of hopelessness pervaded the settlement. At night, Tevye had nightmares of slugs hatching into locusts and bursting through the floor of his house. Sleep became a terror. In his weakness, he started drinking vodka again. At an emergency meeting, when Shilo suggested they abandon the area for some other part of the country, at first Tevye remained silent along with everyone else. Then he said no. One place was just like the rest. The Master of the Universe had many messengers, whether they be mosquitoes, marauders, locusts, or wars.

“Since I have stepped foot in Zion,” he said. “I have buried two daughters and a half-dozen friends. I have been shot at by Arabs, stricken with fever, nearly drowned in a swamp, and now I’ve watched hordes of locusts wipe out our crops. If things can get worse, I don’t know how. Therefore I vote that we stay.”

One after another, the other settlers agreed. Almost immediately, their perseverance was rewarded. Shimson returned with the news that the Baron Rothschild was giving them a loan – nothing astronomical, but enough to get the colony back on its feet.

The work of burying the locust eggs continued. Ditches were dug day and night. Everyone anxiously waited for the two-week gestation to end. If the eggs hatched, no one knew if the strength could be found to withstand another assault of the insatiable grasshoppers.

Blessedly, the devils didn’t come back to life. The harsh decree ended. No more black clouds appeared in the sky. But the settlers of Olat HaShachar could only tremble in awe as they gazed out at their fields. The locusts had transformed their property back into a desolate wasteland.

A few days later, the union workers abandoned the stricken yishuv. Once again, the settlers faced the task of rebuilding alone. A horticulturalist employed by the Baron visited the settlement and advised them to let their fields lay fallow for a year. Tevye received the news as if he had been hit on the head with a hammer. Not work for a year? It was out of the question. How would the settlers survive? Rallying the others, he said he was going back to his farming, even if he had to plow and plant his field all alone.

No one responded. No one agreed. Even Nachman and Shirnon were silent.

“Are we going to let a bunch of grasshoppers defeat us?” Tevye asked. “Is that all the mettle we have?”

“Why break our backs working if the Baron is willing to pay us to sit and do nothing?” Sharagi wanted to know.

“Because we came here to work,” Tevye said. “And not to take handouts like beggars.”

Alone, he strode off to the barn to fetch a mule and a plow. Shilo hurried to catch up to him.

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 Forty: Locusts”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A third assault in France in which assailant yelled "Allahu Akbar" before attacking others.
Another French ‘Allahu Akbar’ Attack, Driver Slams into Crowd
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

Respler-121914

How many potential shidduchim are not coming about because we, the mothers, are not allowing them to go through?

Kupfer-121914

Is the Torah offering nechama by subtly hinting that death brings reunion with loved ones who preceded you?

She approached Holofernes and, with a sword concealed under her robe, severed his head.

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

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-forty-locusts/2013/05/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: