web analytics
September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Three: The Settlers Draw Lots

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

Meshuggeners” Tevye called the crazy bunch.

He believed in God as strongly as anyone. But to walk knee deep into a malaria-infested swamp, that was sheer madness. He had come to the Land of Israel to be reunited with his daughter, not to build Heavenly Kingdoms. Certainly, at the Anatevka crossroads, the dream of stepping foot in Jerusalem had given him an extra push. But to grab hold of a bucket and stick his hands into a hellish Gehenna of mosquitoes, that was out of the question.

“Didn’t Abraham survive a fiery furnace?” Shimon asked.

“I am not Abraham,” Tevye answered.

“Didn’t Joseph survive a pit filled with spiders and scorpions?”

“I am not Joseph.”

“Didn’t Daniel survive being thrown into a den of lions?”

“I am not Daniel either. I am Tevye, the milkman. And I want to stay Tevye, the milkman.”

“God has decreed otherwise,” Shimon said, as if he had some inside information that Tevye lacked. “Tevye, the milkman, is no longer to be Tevye, the milkman. He is to be Tevye, the pioneer. Tevye, the builder. Tevye, the drainer of swamps. One day, legends will be written about you.”

“You’ve got the wrong man, I’m afraid.”

“You will go down in history,” Shimon declared.

“I don’t want to go down in history. On the contrary. For the moment, I would like to stay on my feet as long as I can so I can watch my new child be born, grow up, and get married.”

“If our forefather Abraham had thought only of himself and his family when God commanded him to sacrifice Issac, where would the Jews be today?”

“Here we go again with Abraham,” Tevye groaned.

“My respected elder and friend,” Shimon said with a patient smile. “You should know – men don’t make history; history makes men. Each one of us has to be like a thousand. We have been chosen to resurrect our nation from the graveyards of Russia and Europe, and with God’s help, we shall succeed.”

Rabbi Kook’s words again, Tevye thought with dismay. He felt like the girl in the story which Perchik had told to his daughters – “Alice in Wonderland” – surrounded by a bunch of Mad Hatters. By chance, he had followed the path of the Zionists at the Anatevka crossroad, and, suddenly had fallen into a drama of unfolding Biblical history!

As if he were dreaming, Tevye found himself standing in a line with the other Morasha settlers. Shimon passed a hat filled with pieces of paper from one pioneer to the next. On each piece of paper a number was written. Each settler drew a number out of the hat to determine the order that he or she would work in the swamps. Teams of three worked together. Taking a deep breath, Tevye pulled out a slip of paper. Like a revolver about to explode, the hat passed from hand to hand. When the lots had been drawn, Tevye unfolded his slip. He had drawn number five. Yankele was number one. Ari was number two. Bat Sheva had drawn number three. They would be the first new team into the swamp. Their job was to fill up buckets of murky water and pass them to Guttmacher, who would be stationed up on the bank. He, in turn, would pass the buckets to Tevye, and he on to number six, Reb Shilo’s oldest daughter, and on down the line until the deadly swamp water was dumped into a pit in the sand. There, in the hot sun, the water would evaporate, and the larvae of the mosquitoes would be buried in the earth. Other settlers were put to work as diggers, working on the canal-like ditch which was to drain the swamp water into the sea, nearly a kilometer away.

“Give me your number, and you take mine,” Tevye told his youngest daughter when the nerve-wracking drawing was finished.

“I can’t,” she said. “You heard the rules. We are not allowed to switch places with anyone else.”

Tevye was taken aback. When had his little one become such a saint? The answer was clear. From the time she had married Ariel. The Yemenite youth was as righteous and brave as they came, always volunteering to do whatever had to be done, without any thought or concern for himself. Since her wedding, Tevye’s wild, unpredictable daughter had become a model, obedient wife. As if overnight, Ariel’s idealism and faith had become a part of her being. Just as her husband would walk unflinchingly into the swamp, she would unflinchingly follow.

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.

One Response to “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Three: The Settlers Draw Lots”

  1. Recia Ray says:

    And the desert shall again blossom as a rose…. YES, it can be done as it did before……

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS Released Map
The Ally No One Wants In War Against ISIS: The Jews
Latest Sections Stories
Calmer Times. Breslov chassidim on erev Rosh Hashanah in 2012 at the grave of Rav Nachman in Uman.

As optimistic as Menachem Rosenberg is – and he said he is going to Uman – he’s sure that this year, most of the travelers will not tour other religious sites or places in Ukraine.

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

Not enjoying saying no, I often succumbed to requests viewing them as demands I couldn’t refuse.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

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-three-the-settlers-draw-lots/2013/03/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: