web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Nine: Mazal Tov!

Tevye in the Promised Land

The benefactor of the ambitious Jewish resettlement project was the famous Baron Edmond Rothschild. The fabulously wealthy Rothschilds of Europe were banking and railroad magnates, backers of governments and wars. Edmond was the maverick of the family, whose philanthropic scheme to build a Jewish economic enterprise in Palestine siphoned off millions and millions of dollars each year from the family fortune. Because of the costly investment, he was careful to oversee the development of the colonies through a rigid system of management and monetary control. Being a private person himself, his style of land acquisition was patient and pragmatic, avoiding the aggressive imperialistic policy fostered by other Zionist leaders. He preferred to gradually establish a foundation of settlements which would one day be self-supporting. Accordingly, he maintained cordial relations with the ruling Turkish authorities, who were wary of mass Jewish immigration to Palestine. While the Baron had not founded Rishon LeZion, he had bailed the swamp-infested colony out of the grips of malaria and bankruptcy, and kept it afloat with the monies he channeled into its coffers through the Yaka organization each year.

Aharon told them that while many of the Jewish settlers had gripes against the Baron, he himself respected “The Benefactor” greatly. The colonies, he declared, could not survive without the Company’s assistance. Furthermore, while the Baron was not strictly religious himself, he insisted that every JCA settlement have a synagogue, heder for grade-school children, mikvah for ritual immersion, slaughterer-shochet to supply kosher meat, and rabbi. On the negative side, Aharon confessed, the life of the colonies was controlled by the “Pakidut HaBaron,” the managers whom the Company appointed to oversee the development of each settlement. The managers, gentiles among them, tended to be small-minded bureaucrats, more interested in their positions of authority and financial reward than in the idealistic goal of resettling the Jewish nation in its ancient homeland. Basically, Aharon explained, the pioneer settlers were indentured farmers, at the mercy of the tyrannical managers, and beholden to the JCA for their salaries and badly-needed loans. Although the Baron lived in a palace himself, he was against bourgeois standards of living, insisting that his workers live in Arab-style huts, or large barn-like dorms. Settlers were told what crops to grow and where. There were long lines to receive animal fodder, and their meager ten-francs per-month salary could be withheld at the first sign of rebellion against the JCA management. The settlers could be evicted at any time, and even their personal life was restricted. There had even been cases where managers had forbidden workers to marry or to invite guests to their homes. Once, when Aharon took the initiative to write the Baron a letter complaining against the Company’s frugal policy toward the settlers, the Baron personally wrote back, saying that Aharon should more productively dirty his hands in the fields, and send his wife and children to work, instead of complaining.

Aharon showed his guests the letter.

“We were better off in Russia,” one of his listeners said.

“A lot of pioneers end up going back,” Aharon admitted.

“Why don’t you tell the Company managers to go to hell?” another new immigrant asked.

“We would all die of starvation,” Aharon answered. “The price of land is so high, we could never afford it ourselves.”

His listeners sat in glum silence.

“We’ll manage,” Tevye said. “The Almighty will help. Anything is better than being a slave to the Czar.”

Aharon told them not to despair. In the morning, he would take down all of their names and travel to Jaffa with their documents to bribe a Turkish official into issuing immigrant permits to the group. That way, they would be free to travel throughout the country without fear of arrest and possible deportation.

Outside the house, Nachman was waiting. He wanted to see Tevye alone.

“We have good news, Reb Tevye,” he said. “Ruchel and I have decided to get married tomorrow. We have been to the Rabbi, and he agrees that it is halachically possible. Ruchel spoke with his wife, and all of the proper ritual arrangements can be made. With your permission, of course.”

Happily, Tevye embraced the young man. “My permission is granted, my son. But what about the Company manager?”

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 Nine: Mazal Tov!”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS's response to President Obama's warnings came in the form of a movie trailer.
ISIS Sends Obama Fiery Video Response [video]
Latest Sections Stories
Ganz-091214-Fifty

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

Goldberg-091214

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

Women's under-trousers, Uzbekistan, early 20th century

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

Schonfeld-logo1

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.

The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

“On Sunday I was at the Kotel with the battalion and we said a prayer of thanks. In Gaza there were so many moments of death that I had to thank God that I’m alive. Only then did I realize how frightening it had been there.”

Neglect, indifference or criticism can break a person’s neshama.

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

The assumption of a shared kinship is based on being part of the human race. Life is so much easier to figure out when everyone thinks the same way.

Various other learning opportunities will be offered to the community throughout the year.

The new group will also deliver kosher food to Jewish residents in non-kosher facilities, as well as to kosher facilities where the food is not up to par.

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-nine-mazal-tov/2012/08/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: