web analytics
May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Five: A Thousand Tevyes

The next chapter of the award-winning novel.

Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

His eyes closed once again. Tevye held him in his lap. An hour later, he was dead. For a long while, Tevye and Ariel rode on in silence. Finally, Ariel brought the wagon to a halt.

“Where are we going to bury him?” Ariel asked.

Tevye glanced around at the road, as if to gage where they were.

“We are still about three hours from Zichron,” Ariel said. “It makes more sense to go hack to Olat HaShachar.”

“Yes,” Tevye said. “I suppose that it does. But you would think that a man who spent his life burying people would be granted a more respectable burying place than a swamp.”

“It won’t always be a swamp,” Ariel said. “He gave his life for that.”

“I suppose,” Tevye answered, squinting off toward the distant mountains. His thoughts drifted away. Holding on to the reins of the wagon, Ariel stared at his father-in-law, waiting for a decision.

“What are you thinking, Abba?” he asked when Tevye continued to gaze off into space.

“I was thinking that he probably would want to be buried alongside his wife.”

“In Morasha?”

“Yes,” Tevye answered.

“It’s almost a day’s journey away.”

“Yes, that’s true. But he’ll have a long time to rest after he gets there.”

“Yes,” Ariel reflected. “I suppose that he will.”

The Yemenite fell silent. His wife’s father had a well-meaning heart, but sometimes Ashkenazic Jews could be crazy. In Eretz Yisrael, what difference did it make where a man was buried? The whole land was holy. Wherever they buried him, his soul would go straight up to Heaven. Guttmacher would meet his wife there.

“I think that is what he would have wanted,” Tevye said.

Ariel didn’t argue. He flicked at the reins. “You knew him better than anyone.”

Before making the ascent into the mountains, Tevye insisted on stopping at Zichron Yaacov to prepare the body for burial in the proper ritual manner. He dragged Ariel into the local undertaker’s workroom to learn how to do the procedure. They watched as the undertaker administered the purifying bathing and carefully unloosened all of the corpse’s joints.

“What was his occupation?” the undertaker asked.

“The same as yours,” Tevye answered.

The Jew looked up in surprise.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked.

“What difference does it make?”

“It’s a matter of professional courtesy,” the undertaker answered. “You know how it is. People die here like flies. With all the epidemics we’ve suffered this year, I’m kept busy day and night. You try to do your best with everyone, but sometimes, I don’t have to tell you. When I have the honor to work on a fellow undertaker, I like to do an extra special job. I mean he deserves it, am I right?”

Tevye nodded. “As the Rabbis say – the way you treat people

is the way you get treated in return.”

When the body was ready, they wrapped it securely in a sheet and lifted it back onto the wagon. Hava was waiting outside. Upon their arrival, Tevye had sent a youth to the infirmary to fetch her. The father washed his hands in the basin by the door of the undertaker’s workroom and kissed his daughter on the cheek.

“What will become of his children?” she asked, remembering Guttmacher’s remaining young son and a daughter.

“They have an uncle in Russia. In the meantime, they can move in with me.”

“Why don’t you spend the night in Zichron Yaacov and set out in the morning?” Hava suggested.

“Out of respect for the dead, the sooner he is buried, the sooner his soul will find rest.”

Tevye led his daughter a few steps down the path, where he could speak about more personal matters.

“When was the last time you saw your husband?” he asked.

“He was here for a Shabbos two months ago.”

“Two months ago?’’ Tevye queried.

“He’s very involved with his studies. But in another two weeks, I have a vacation. I will be joining him in Jaffa for three days.”

“That’s what you call a marriage – to see your husband for one or two days every few months?”

“He’s happy,” Hava answered. “So I’m happy too.”

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.

4 Responses to “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Five: A Thousand Tevyes”

  1. Nmcva Mata says:

    מזל טוב! 14 I will restore My people Israel.

    They shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them;.

    They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine;.

    They shall till gardens and eat their fruits.

    15 And I will plant them upon their soil,

    Nevermore to be uprooted.

    From the soil I have given them.

    — declares the Lord —.

  2. Grace Acosta says:

    So very, very beautiful. This made me cry!

  3. Grace Acosta says:

    So very, very beautiful. This made me cry!

  4. Grace Acosta says:

    So very, very beautiful. This made me cry!

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Sha'ar Shechem / Damascus Gate. The Old City of Jerusalem.
Arab Stabs 2 Jewish Teens in Old City Terror Attack on Shavuot
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

Respler-052215

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.

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.

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-five-a-thousand-tevyes/2013/04/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: