web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Nine: Winds of War

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

Share Button

Shimon decided the proper thing to do was to call a general meeting so that everyone could express their opinion. One thing was clear – the colony needed more workers. Reluctantly, they had hired Arabs to work in the fields during harvest time and planting. Besides the disappearance of animals and tools which always occurred when Arab workers were hired, there was always a feeling that security-wise, it was dangerous to have outside workers overly familiar with the day-to-day workings of the colony. So that now, when Jews showed up demanding the right to work, how could the settlers of Olat HaShachar turn them away?

When all of the men in the colony had finished voicing their views, Shimon proposed that the workers be given a six-month trial. A vote was taken and the proposal passed by an overwhelming margin. In fact, only Tevye and Eliahu dissented. A formal contract with Ruppin was signed, and the workers were given quarters in a half-empty barn, where they were invited to sleep on the ground. In the morning, they were given tea and chunks of black bread. Singing a medley of Russian tunes, the happy new immigrants set off to work.

When the Arab workers arrived, Shimon met them and told them that their labor was no longer needed. Clearly displeased, they hung around for several hours with scowls on their faces before stalking off into the dunes.

The new immigrants set to their tasks with a passion, wanting to prove that they could provide the colony with invaluable help. Their spirits never seemed to tire, spurred on by their dreams of rebuilding Zion, and by the Histadrut’s goal of conquering the work market for the Jews.

The first problem occurred on the Sabbath. While the settlers of Olat HaShachar were praying, a boy came into the synagogue and reported that the new immigrants were working with their tools in the fields! With their white prayer shawls billowing behind them in the wind, everyone ran out of the synagogue, as if a fire was raging in one of the barns.

“Stop! Stop!” everyone screamed as they ran to halt the unheard of desecration of the holy Sabbath.

The workers were startled at the sight. When they were told to immediately cast down their tools, a fiery argument broke out.

They had come to Olat HaShachar to work. They wanted to work on the Sabbath just like any other day of the week. They wanted to keep building the land, and they wanted to be paid for each day of their labor.

“Our work isn’t bothering anyone. What do you care?” one of the workers asked.

Shimon tried to explain the prohibition of working on the Sabbath, but talking about the Bible to the Zionists was like trying to convince a child to eat a food he doesn’t like. His entreaties fell on deaf ears. As long as the workers lacked respect for the laws of the Torah, to them one day was the same as the next.

Under the threat that the workers would leave Olat HaShachar to work in a non-religious kibbutz, it was decided after the Sabbath was over to pay them double for the work they did on Friday, so that they too would welcome the Sabbath’s rest.

“In effect,” Tevye said, “they are getting paid not to work on the Sabbath. I say we get rid of them now.”

Once again, his advice was ignored. Everyone could see the benefit which the extra manpower would bring to the colony. And with harvest-time coming, there was an overabundance of work to be done in the fields.

It turned out that Dr. Ruppin had only come with the workers to negotiate their contract. After he left, a tall, quick-witted youth proclaimed himself manager of the group. It was his job, he said, to secure better conditions for his comrades and to guard them from being exploited. Instead of living with the cows in the barn, he demanded a barracks just for the workers. And the barracks had to have beds.

“The better we sleep, the better we work,” Zeev, the young, union leader, announced.

Though Tevye naturally liked people, and though he tried his best to judge others in a positive light, the self-assured youth made him wary. He reminded Tevye of Ben Zion and Perchik. All of them were filled with avalanches of good intention; all of them abounded with idealism and spirit; all of them could make a man dizzy with slogans and speeches, but where did all of their glib talk and charisma lead? To a breakdown of tradition. Not only that, Tevye warned his friend Elisha to keep an eye on his unmarried daughters.

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Nine: Winds of War”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ancient skull discovered Gush Etzion
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    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-thirty-nine-winds-of-war/2013/05/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: