web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Forty-One: War

The next chapter of the award-winning novel.

Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

“What is he doing in Switzerland?” Nachman inquired.

“He is writing, I’m told. An important congregation in London has invited him to be their rabbi while he is in Europe, but he has not yet decided. In a letter to the yeshiva, he wrote that he still hopes that he can find some way to return to the Holy Land.”

Inevitably, the effects of the war reached Palestine too. For one thing, there was no aliyah. To the Turks, the Jews asking entry from Russian were citizens of an enemy state. New Jewish immigrants ceased to arrive. As the war spread and spread, a steamship or freighter wasn’t to be seen in Jaffa’s harbor. In a short time, staples like flour, sugar, and rice all disappeared from the market. People started storing up food. Export trade stopped. Loans stopped arriving for the settlements. The Baron’s Jewish Colony Association was headquartered in France, and France was at war with the Germans, and the Turks, who were allied with the Germans, were reluctant to grant special favors to the benefactor of the Jews. Without funds to sustain them, the settlements became imperiled, and yeshivot in Jerusalem had to close.

In the third year of the war, the Turkish military government of Palestine started a countrywide draft. Tevye was spared because of his age. Nachman was deferred because he was the colony’s rabbi. Hillel was rejected because of his leg. But others, who couldn’t afford to bribe their way out, were taken away to be turned into soldiers in the Ottoman army. Shimon, the settlement leader, went into hiding. The Turkish soldiers searched the stables and barn, but they didn’t think to lift up the floor of the tool shed where the bulky Shimon was hiding in a secret cellar the settlers had dug. Not to leave empty handed, the Turks confiscated the tools that they found and conscripted them into the war effort.

In short, the colony work force was crippled. A month later, more armed Turkish soldiers arrived and took away clothing and food. On their next visit, they took horses, wagons, camels, and mules. When harvest time came, soldiers confiscated half of the produce. Heavy taxes were levied, and only by bribing a Turkish captain was the colony left with some food.

Word came that the Jews of Jerusalem were starving. The community of rabbis and scholars in the holy city depended on charity from abroad, and when the country’s foreign banks closed, their survival was threatened. Soup and bread kitchens were opened, but dozens of poor people starved to death every month. Only through the great kindness of the American Consul, a righteous gentile named Glazebrook, were the Jews of Jerusalem saved. Until the United States entered the war against Germany, he continued dispensing the charity which he received from America, even though the Turks kept a close watch on everything he did.

Miraculously, just before all postal service was suspended to Palestine, a letter arrived from America. It was from Baylke. Months had gone by without a letter from the family in Israel, and she was worried. She had started to light candles on Friday night, and when she ushered in the Sabbath, she prayed for their welfare with all of her heart. There were rumors, she said, that America would have to enter the war to fight against the Germans. In the meantime, she and her husband were fine. Padhatzur had won several promotions, and his stock investments had paid a handsome return. She was sending five-hundred dollars to the family through the American Consulate in Jerusalem, and she wanted her father to receive it himself. It was all the money she had managed to save.

To Tevye and his family, five-hundred dollars was a fortune. The money which the Baron had given for Moishe and Hannei had long ago been loaned to the treasury of the settlement to help it get back on its feet. So Baylke’s letter came like a gift out of Heaven. Immediately, Tevye set off to Jerusalem on foot. The colony had no wagon to spare, not even a mule. Luckily, the good Lord was with him. A carriage carrying JCA officials from Zichron Yaacov to Jaffa stopped on the way. When they learned that Tevye was the father of the infirmary nurse, they graciously made room in the carriage. Brushing the dust off of his clothes, Tevye climbed into the crowded, but comfortable compartment. After politely refusing a flask of brandy and a cigarette from a shiny silver case, he answered their questions about the effect of the war on Olat HaShachar. Then Tevye listened as the Company officials confidentially discussed the state of the JCA.

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 Forty-One: War”

  1. When is the next chapter? The suspense is killing me!

  2. When is the next chapter? The suspense is killing me!

  3. Martin Cohn says:

    Why did you only post 41 out of 46 chapters? Please reconsider.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.

South-Florida-logo

Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.

South-Florida-logo

This year, 40 couples were helped. The organization needs the support of the extended Jewish community so that it can continue in its important work.

In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.

A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.

Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.

Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.

“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

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-one-war/2013/05/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: