“Bless the Lord Who has kept me alive to see this day,” Tevye said.
“Well?” Hodel asked.
“Is Hillel a good choice?”
Dramatically, Tevye paused. He put his fist to his chin as if thinking. Then he nodded his head. “Yes, he’s a good choice. He’s a good, honest man. He’ll make a good, faithful husband. And a wonderful father to your children, may you be blessed with many more.”
Hodel rushed into his arms.
“Oh, Abba,” she said. “I’m so glad.”
Hodel and Hillel were married two weeks later. If Hillel was lame, no one would have known it from the way that he danced at the wedding. His feet never seemed to touch the ground.
And, of course, the bride’s father was in fine form himself, hugging all of his friends, and dancing up a storm. For just this one occasion, Nachman said that Tevye could drink a glass of wine, since Hillel had given his new father-in-law the honor of reciting the marriage blessing of “boreh pree hagefen,” thanking God for having created the fruit of the vine.
Seemingly a lifetime ago, Tevye had stood at the Russian railway station saying a tearful goodbye to his daughter. Today, embracing her under the nuptial chuppah, he felt like he was once again saying hello.