web analytics
July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Seven: ‘Get Thee Forth to the Land’

Tevye in the Promised Land

“Your friend did what with the policeman?” he asked incredulously. Tevye, Nachman, and the oversized Alexander Goliath all started laughing. Their host failed to see anything humorous.

“Something like this can bring a pogrom on all of the Jews of Odessa,” he said.

“What should we do?” Tevye asked.

“You’ll have to set off on your voyage tonight.”

“But how? Our ship doesn’t leave for two weeks.”

“You can’t go back to the dock. The police will be waiting for you,”Eliahu warned them. “There are small boats for hire that can be secured for a price. The crossing is dangerous, but others have made it. With God’s help, I can arrange for one of the captains to sail tonight.”

“In a sailboat?” Nachman asked.

“That’s your only other choice. Unless you want to walk across Russia and Turkey, and that can take a year.”

“How dangerous is dangerous?” Tevye asked.

“I haven’t made the crossing myself,” the little Jew confided. “But there are Russians who do it for a living, and even a gentile doesn’t want to get killed. But I’d be lying if I told you that there haven’t been shipwrecks and drownings. The Black Sea isn’t a duck pond. It’s as big as an ocean and the winds can be treacherous.”

“God will answer our prayers for a safe journey,” Nachman said with his unflinching faith.

“What about the money I paid to that thief at the dock?” Tevye asked.

The Jew held up his hands. “Kaporas,” he said. “It is lost. May it be considered an atonement for your sins.”

The little Jew was right, Tevye decided. Why cry over spilled milk? Right now, the important thing was escaping from Odessa without going to prison. And besides, in the turn of events, there was one big consolation which Tevye didn’t dare mention. By sneaking off on a boat in the middle of the night, they would be rid of the tenacious Hevedke forever!

The Jews got down to business. The voyage would cost them three hundred rubles. It was almost half of the money that Tevye had left. And there were still two more sea journeys to follow. Which meant that they would be landing in the Holy Land with an empty purse and a prayer. As if sensing his thoughts, Goliath offered to pay the cost of the passage for everyone.

“It’s my fault that we have fallen into this mess,” he declared.

“You meant well,” Tevye retorted. “Besides, you upheld the honor of the people of God, and no man should be penalized for that.”

Finally, when it was agreed that each man would put up his own share of the fare, their host hurried off to arrange for a boat. In the meantime, Nachman wandered off to find an evening prayer minyan where he could say the mourner’s Kaddish for his father. Having spent the greater part of his life voyaging through Talmudic texts in the study hall of the yeshiva, it was his father’s dying blessing which gave Nachman the confidence to set out on such a hazardous voyage. As the Talmud states, a man who undertakes to do a good deed will be Divinely protected from the dangers of travel. And could there be a greater deed than going to live in the Land of Israel, a precept which was equal in weight to all of the commandments in the Torah? Especially when it had been his father’s last wish that Nachman pray at the sacred Wall in Jerusalem, at the site where their ancient Temple had stood. Surely, in the merit of his father, the Almighty would protect them on the way.

In a matter of hours, the Constantinople-bound Jews rendezvoused with Eliahu under the cover of nightfall. Sneaking out of the city like fugitives, Tevye’s daughters were frightened with the great rush and mystery. The boat was waiting for them at a dock at the edge of the forest. From the bow to the stern, the vessel was several wagons long, but it was tiny compared with the great freighters they had seen at the port. Eliahu introduced the captain as Leo. He wore what looked like an admiral’s jacket and cap, but Tevye eyed him with doubts. The captain’s breath reeked of cheap liquor. Not that Tevye blamed him for drinking. The roar of the waves, and the blackness of the sea in the distance invited the thought of a strong vodka or two, but it wasn’t something that inspired confidence at the start of a voyage. Especially since Tevye had never learned how to swim. And neither, of course, had his daughters.

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.

No Responses to “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Seven: ‘Get Thee Forth to the Land’”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Sections Stories

We studied his seforim together, we listened to famous cantorial masters and we spoke of his illustrious yichus, his pedigree, dating back to the famous commentator, Rashi.

Singer-Saul-Jay-logo-NEW

Jews who were considered, but not ultimately selected, include Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, David Ben-Gurion, Marc Chagall, Anne Frank, and Barbra Streisand.

Personally I wish that I had a mother like my wife.

What’s the difference between the first and second ten-year-old?

What makes this diary so historically significant is that it is not just the private memoir of Dr. Seidman. Rather, it is a reflection of the suffering of Klal Yisrael at that time.

Rabbi Lau is a world class speaker. When he relates stories, even concentration camp stories, the audience is mesmerized. As we would soon discover, he is in the movie as well.

Each essay, some adapted from lectures Furst prepared for live audiences, begins with several basic questions around a key topic.

For the last several years, four Jewish schools in the Baltimore Jewish community have been expelling students who have not received their vaccinations.

“We can’t wait for session II to begin” said camp director Mrs. Judy Neufeld.

Chabad Chayil wishes all a happy and healthy remainder of summer.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
011-OT-Maps-Israel-Tribes

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Japanese-American child en route to an "assembly center", Spring 1942

Detention Camps for US Jews? Sounds farfetched but it did to Japanese-Americans during WW II as well

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

Rebbe Nachman’s stories awaken the sleeping; our film of his stories has the power to wake the world

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

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-seven-get-thee-forth-to-the-land/2012/07/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: