web analytics
May 30, 2015 / 12 Sivan, 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

Two weeks later, Tevye and his family boarded an overcrowded steamship heading for Jaffa. Along with the throng of Jews who had gathered from all over Russia, religious Jews and secular Zionists, Litvaks and Galitzianers, there were a family of Jews from France, German merchants on the way to Damascus and Cairo, Christians on their way to Jerusalem, Spanish Moslems journeying to Mecca, Turkish businessmen, and Hevedke. As the ship set sail, the Jews burst into a chorus of spirited songs, but a day out of port, the weather changed for the worse. Towering black clouds darkened the sky. As if stirred by some heavenly turmoil, the sea rose threateningly over the bow of the ship, splashing angry waves on board. The Jews had to huddle on deck under a tarpaulin, which they pulled over their heads to shelter them from the fierce, driving rain. Almost everyone grew seasick. Children cried at the crashing of thunder. Again and again, the bow rose in the air and plummeted into the depths of the ocean as if the steamship were sinking. Water splashed over the railing, soaking the Jews and their clothing. A chill shook Tzeitl’s body. Tevye and Goliath hurried her down below to warm her in the blast of the boiler.

The ocean’s fury lasted all through the night. The sun didn’t appear throughout the next day. Without any sign of letup or mercy, the hurricane raged unabated. Even the crew became nauseous and sick. Everyone prayed.

“Why doesn’t God stop it?” Ruchela asked in despair.

“We are getting closer to Israel,” Nachman explained. “Stepping foot in the Holy Land is the greatest blessing in the world. The reward only falls on the bravest, on those who are willing to sacrifice everything to reach the palace of the King.”

“Is it God’s will that we all die in the midst of the ocean?” Bat Sheva asked.

“No. He wants us to pray for His help.”

“Then what’s taking so long?” the girl asked. “We’ve been praying day and night.”

“If God doesn’t answer at first, it doesn’t mean He isn’t listening. He simply wants us to pray harder, with all of our hearts.”

Nachman’s faith was an inspiration to everyone. He closed his eyes and bobbed back and forth in deep prayer. With his heart directed to Heaven, he shut out the howl of the wind and the splash of the sea. His lips opened in a softly sung prayer, the prayer of the High Priest in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.

“May Your kindness prevail

Over Your wrath,

May Your kindness prevail

Over Your wrath.

Have mercy on Your children,

Have mercy on Your children.”

Over and over, Nachman sang the refrain until he stood on his feet in a trance, pouring out his heart to the thundering clouds. Little Moishe stood up and joined him. His young, high-pitched wail pierced everyone’s heart. Soon, it was impossible to tell if the ship was swaying from the waves of the storm, or from the turbulent prayers of the Jews.

The next morning, one of the merchants was discovered dead in his cabin. Two crew members wrapped him in a sheet and threw him overboard, as if they were offering a sacrifice to a vengeful god. A few hours later another corpse was found. Rumors spread quickly that a plague had broken out aboard ship. Before long, the captain and four crew members stood in front of Tevye.

“Get your coffin and dump it overboard,” the captain ordered.

Tevye was stunned. His coffin. Golda. Overboard?

“I protest,” he mumbled when he found words to speak.

“I am not asking you. I am ordering you,” the captain repeated. “If you don’t, my men will. That coffin is endangering everyone on the ship.”

“My Golda? Endangering the ship? It’s preposterous,” Tevye replied.

“The plague is coming from somewhere,” the captain answered. “And I am certain it’s from that coffin. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this storm has been inflicted upon us because I am carrying a stinking dead Jew on my ship.”

Hearing his wife cursed, Tevye shuddered. With a growl, he lunged at the captain. A crew member held out a club and pushed him away. Tevye’s feet slipped out from under him, and he crashed down on the deck. Goliath started forward, but three drawn pistols stopped him in his tracks.

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
What's happened to NYC's Celebrate Israel Parade?
Israel Rejects as ‘False’ UJA Federation’s Claims about Israel Parade ‘Inclusion’
Latest Sections Stories
Respler-logo-NEW

When I complain, she tells me it is retail therapy.

West-Coast-logo

Tal Dimenstein has been selected to present her ELI Talk about Appreciation during this year’s conference in Chicago.

How is it possible that some of our people cannot see what I see, the miracle of the existence of the state of Israel?

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

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

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

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.

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-seven-get-thee-forth-to-the-land/2012/07/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: