web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Eight: A Love Song for Hodel

The next chapter of the award-winning novel.
Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

Carmel was silent. Tevye loved her for that. She knew when to speak up, and when to leave matters to him.

“You know, that isn’t a bad idea” Tevye said.

“Who?” Carmel asked.

“Hillel.”

Tevye’s wife thought and nodded her head.

“Unless you think he’s too old for her,” Tevye added with a grin.

His wife smiled back. The great difference in their ages was a joyful joke between them.

“Do you want me to suggest it to her?” Carmel asked.

“No, no,” Tevye said. “That would end it before it began. If she thinks that it’s something I’ve planned, she’ll say no just for spite. She may have learned a big lesson about husbands, but if I know my daughter, she still has a stubborn, willful streak. So we have to proceed with caution.”

Tevye grabbed a bottle of wine, and without waiting another minute, he set off to the barracks where the bachelors all slept. The musician was leading a symphony of snoring. Tevye sat on his bed and poked at his friend until he woke up with a startled expression.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“It isn’t good for a man to be alone,” Tevye said.

“You’ve woken me in the middle of the night to tell me that?” Hillel asked.

“It’s time you got married.”

Hillel wiped the sleep from his eyes. “With whom?”

Whispering, Tevye related his plan. The lovelorn musician agreed with a big grin at once. As if concluding a transaction, the father of the bride handed the bottle of wine to the groom.

“L’Chaim,” Tevye said.

“L’Chaim,” Hillel answered. Singing the blessing in the traditional wedding tune, he raised the bottle to his mouth and drank. Then he handed the bottle to Tevye.

“I can’t,” Tevye said. “When I was sinking in the swamp, I made a vow to give up drinking.”

“This isn’t drinking. It’s a toast.”

“A vow is a vow,” Tevye said. “But if my daughter agrees to marry you, I will speak to a rabbi before the wedding to see if I can take a sip or two to celebrate such a great simcha.”

The very next day, outside the packing house of the colony where Hodel worked packing vegetables into the sacks and crates which were sent to the market, a man started singing a love song behind her. It was Hillel. He had been “transferred” from the fields to the packing house to help speed the packing.

Though other unmarried women worked alongside her, with a woman’s intuition, Hodel felt that Hillel’s ballads were being aimed in her direction. By their smiles, the other women seemed to sense it too. As his love songs continued, Hodel felt herself blushing.

Without looking at Hillel, she fastened the lid on a crate of tomatoes and carried it toward one of the wagons. Yentel, the wife of the butcher, walked over beside her.

“Running away from a love song?” she asked.

“Nonsense,” Hodel answered.

He certainly isn’t singing to me. I’m married, and so are Minnie and Ruth.”

“So?”

“And the other girls are too young to get married.”

“A minstrel doesn’t need a reason to sing,” Hodel answered.

“Perhaps not. But Hillel has been long-faced for months. All of a sudden, you show up, and he turns into a nightingale.”

Again, Hodel blushed. Walking back to her heap of tomatoes, she caught Hillel’s eye. He stared at her with an unabashedly friendly smile, the kind of a smile which a religious man doesn’t give to a woman unless he has serious intentions. With a polite, if frigid, reaction, Hodel set back to her work.

“Can I marry Hillel, the minstrel?” she thought. He was the age of her father! And lame! Not that lameness was a sin, but it certainly wasn’t an attractive quality in a man. “Why does a man have to be attractive?” a voice inside her asked. Her husband, Perchik, had been attractive and where had it gotten her? It turned out that he loved himself more than he had loved her. What did good looks matter if a man was a rogue inside? And in this world, in one way or another, wasn’t everyone lame? No one was perfect, except the Creator, so who was she to look askance at the shortcomings of Hillel or anyone else?

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 Thirty-Eight: A Love Song for Hodel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Islamic State flag displayed from Arab residence in Israel.
Cleared for Publication: Another Israeli-Arab ISIS Recruit from Nazareth
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-thirty-eight-a-love-song-for-hodel/2013/05/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: