web analytics
May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 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.

The sweetly sung song courted her ears. Though the lyrics metaphorically spoke of the love between a man and a woman, she knew it was a song about a Jew’s love for God.

“Love, shmov,” she heard her mother’s voice say. “What does love have to do with marriage? A man and a woman are brought together to bring children into the world. They live in the same house to raise up a family. What does love have to do with anything? Cooking, and cleaning, and scrubbing, and folding, and putting up with a man’s moanings and tantrums, that’s love.”

Immersed in her thoughts, Hodel began putting tomatoes into a potato sack. Yentel smiled and gave Hodel a wink as Hillel limped by, lugging a load of tomatoes over to the wagon.

“You’re not a spring chicken anymore yourself,” the older woman whispered, as if reading Hodel’s thoughts.

“Oh stop it,” Hodel protested.

It was ridiculous. How could she marry a man her father’s age?

Just as her mind asked the question, a wagon rode over and stopped a short distance away from the packing house. A mountain of tomatoes had arrived, waiting to be crated and shipped. Tevye was driving. Carmel sat beside him, holding their baby. The boy was big enough now to take along into the fields. While his mother picked tomatoes, little Tzvi Schneur Zalman rested nearby in the shade of an improvised lean-to. With a big, happy grin, Tevye got down from the wagon. He held out his hand and helped Carmel climb down with the child. How happy they seemed, Hodel thought. And though her father was much older than his wife was, they looked like a match made in Heaven.

“More of the Lord’s tomatoes,” Tevye cheerfully said to the packers. “The bounty of the land. Nurtured by hard work and God’s blessing. Sun-ripened tomatoes, harvested out of the remains of a swamp. Treat them gently, dear ladies, for the vegetables I set before you are not plain tomatoes – they are miracles! Yesterday, they were ravenous mosquitoes, and today, instead of them eating people, people are about to eat them!”

Everyone laughed. Tevye’s happiness was infectious.

“How’s my big tomato?” he asked, pinching Hodel’s cheek. Indeed, the way she blushed, there was a resemblance. Strolling off with his wife and child, Tevye stopped to say shalom to his good friend, the musician. Her father liked Hillel, she knew, and her father was a good judge of men, except, of course, in the case of Menachem Mendel, who had conned her father out of the family’s modest savings. If her father liked a man, it meant he was honest. And being a musician, Hillel’s mind certainly wasn’t closed down to art, literature, and creative inquiry, like so many other religious Jews. The beauty of his singing revealed that his soul, like hers, needed unfettered horizons. Yet, at the very same time, he was unquestionably God fearing. As the man of the house, he was sure to pass on the Jewish traditions which had become important to Hodel ever since Tzeitl’s death.

The next evening after dinner, someone knocked on the door of the cottage where Hodel lived with her child and four other young, single women. It was Hillel. Gallantly, he took off his cap and bowed.

“Sorry to disturb you,” he said. “But a wagon load of tomatoes has just arrived from the fields and workers are needed to pack them.”

“Now? In the evening?” Hodel asked.

“The fresher they are, the better price they will command in the market,” he answered. “When the harvest time comes, you can’t tell tomatoes to wait. A wagon is leaving for Jaffa tonight.”

“I’ll get my shawl,” Hodel said with a blush.

Hillel waited outside. They walked to the packing house without speaking. He whistled happily, as if to draw attention away from his limp, which really wasn’t so bad, Hodel decided. At the packing house, a wagon piled high with tomatoes had been left unattended, waiting to be unloaded and packed for shipping, but no other workers were present.

“Where are the others?” Hodel asked.

“I don’t know,” Hillel said.

“Who sent you to fetch me?”

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. 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.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

South-Florida-logo

“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.

South-Florida-logo

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

Our goal here is to offer you recipes that you can make on Yom Tov with ingredients you might just have in the house. Enjoy and chag sameach!

Gardening can be a healthy, wholesome activity for the whole family.

Unfortunately, the probability is that he will not see a reason to change as he has been acting this way for a long time and clearly has some issues with respecting women.

All of these small changes work their way into the framework of the elephant and the rider because they are helping the elephant move forward.

It’s hard not to be intrigued by recipes with names like Thanksgiving Stuffing Soup, Braised Chicken with Rhubarb Gravy and Vidalia Onion Fritters with Sambal Yogurt Dip.

Ramsay, daughter of famed football coach Jack Ramsay, has served the City of Los Angeles for the past 15 years.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Rabbi Levinger (zt"l)

Torah is to be lived. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was a completely living Torah, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael

Rabbi Levinger in blue, seated with the author

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

An Israeli actor pal asked me why I knew nothing about Judaism-The question hit like a thunderbolt

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: