web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Ten: Rabbi Kook

Tevye book cover

“Being kicked out of your village, murdered, and exiled from country to country is not what I call redemption,” the willful girl responded.

“She has a point,” Tevye agreed.

“You’ll understand when Rabbi Kook explains it to you,” Nachman assured.

“Why must I understand? Aren’t the pains in my back and the aches in my feet enough learning for a lifetime?”

“That’s just the physical side of our life. There is a whole spiritual reality as well.”

Tevye didn’t see anything spiritual in milking a cow at four in the morning, but he didn’t want to get into a mystical argument with his new son-in-law. The milkman from Anatevka was a simple Jew, not a Kabbalist. It was enough for him to serve the Lord with gladness and a peasant’s simple faith, believing that everything was in the hands of His Creator. Life was a never-ending series of trials, with joyous occasions scattered like bread crumbs along the road, to give a man hope and the strength to continue. A Jew had to stick to the Torah and thank the Almighty for both the good and the bad. As King Solomon had said, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the sum of man.” Anything more, like Nachman’s talk of redemption and the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, only gave Tevye a headache.

After several long hours of travel, they reached the port city of Jaffa. In contrast to the barren desert landscapes which they had left behind, the noisy congestion of Jaffa came as a welcomed sight. Narrow streets and alleyways were infested with man and beast. Arab porters scurried in every direction, laden with fleeces of wool, copper vessels, and Persians rugs. Caravan drivers led their camels toward the market. The aroma of oriental spices and teas perfumed the air. Vendors cried out, selling their wares from booths on the street. Turkish soldiers with bayonetted rifles strutted through the crowds, keeping order. Crippled beggars stuck out their hands for money, and dark-faced Africans and Moslems offered juice drinks from jugs strapped over their backs. The cobblestone pavement was soiled with sheep dung and donkey droppings. Flies swarmed everywhere. They stuck to Tevye’s beard, unfazed by his swats and his curses. Only when the Jews made their way through the teeming city toward the harbor did an ocean breeze rescue them from their furious attackers.

The roadway along the port was congested with carts loading and unloading merchandise. Dozens of sun-bleached rowboats were tied to the wharf, while schooners and four-chimneyed freighters lay anchored further out to sea. Tevye pulled alongside a wagon laden with wine barrels and driven by Jews. Nachman greeted them and asked the way to Rabbi Kook’s house. They answered in Russian and pointed down the roadway to a cluster of houses at the outskirts of the port.

Soon, more and more Jews could be seen as they approached the white-cottaged neighborhood. Many of the faces were so dark and oriental that Tevye wondered if they were Jewish. Some wore the same caftans and turbans of the Arabs. Other Jews, paler in complexion and recognizably Ashkenazim, were dressed like Russian workers with vests, caps, and bushy beards. Everyone they asked seemed to know where the Rabbi of Jaffa lived. In his excitement, Nachman jumped down from the wagon and ran on ahead. The Rabbi’s wife showed them into the house. She said that the Rabbi was resting, but he appeared in a doorway at the far end of the parlor, eager to greet his guests as if he had been expecting their arrival.

Nachman rushed forward and bowed, grasping the Rabbi’s outstretched hand. Rabbi Kook was dressed formally in a long black frock. A black fur-lined shtreimel covered his head like a crown. What astonished Tevye were his eyes. In the depths of their piercing blackness, a light shone with a mystical radiance. When he glanced at Tevye, the humble milkman felt that his secrets lay open before him like playing cards spread out on a table. The great Torah scholar smiled at the newcomers and wished them a pleasant shalom. His eyes glowed with kindness, but at the same time, they were incredibly serious. The Rabbi’s glance seemed to say, “My friend, Tevye, I love you like a brother, but we both know that being a Jew isn’t so simple.”

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 Ten: Rabbi Kook”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The new peace partners; Hams leader Khaleed Meshaal (L) and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas
Khaled Mashaal Rejects Ceasefire and Says Israel Must Disarm for Peace
Latest Sections Stories
book-Family-Frayda

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

book-I-Kings

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

book-Unify-A-Nation

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.

These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.

The universe was created by God out of nothing; it has not always existed.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-ten-rabbi-kook/2012/08/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: