web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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.

“Maybe it isn’t too late to return to Morasha,” Guttmacher told Tevye on their first day of the job.

The undertaker stood on the bank of the swamp and reached out to grab a bucket splashing with rancid black water from Bat Sheva’s hands. Like all of the other workers in the swamp, she wore high rubber boots and long sleeves. But before long, she was drenched head to toe with the foul-smelling water.

“For what?” Tevye asked, reaching out to take the bucket from the undertaker.

“Haven’t you had enough of the plague?”

The swamp water splashed over Tevye’s hands as he passed the bucket on down the line.

“Is this any better, I ask you?”

“God will protect us,” Guttmacher said.

“One place is filled with the plague. The next place is a haven for malaria. What is person to do?”

“Pray,” Guttmacher told him.

Tevye reached out for the next bucket and passed it along to Reb Shilo’s oldest daughter. A mosquito landed on his forehead and took a hungry bite. With a slap, Tevye killed it and stared at the splatch of blood on his hand.

“Dear God,” Tevye said aloud, gazing up at the sky. “First, You almost killed us in a snowstorm. Then Cossacks nearly cut us in half with their swords. Then, You almost drowned us in the ocean, and when that didn’t work, You almost killed us with thirst. You took Tzeitl in Your mercy. When Arab marauders didn’t murder us all, You nearly finished us off with a plague. I ask You, haven’t we suffered enough? Must we also be eaten alive by mosquitoes?”

Guttmacher slapped at his neck. “Devils,” he said. “That’s what they are. Little devils.”

“You know,” Tevye said, taking another bucket from his friend, “when we left Anatevka, our Rabbi said that we shouldn’t go with the Zionists to Palestine. Maybe he was right.”

“Maybe he was wrong,” his friend countered. “For example, our Rabbi told us to go.”

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day all of the rabbis got together and decided the very same thing?”

“If that ever happened, the Mashiach would come for sure.”

In the middle of the swamp, waist deep in the water, Yankele was furiously swatting a cloud of mosquitoes. Apparently, in the middle of filling up buckets, he had stepped on a nest. With a scream, he made his way through the muck and climbed out of the swamp. Frantic to escape the angry mosquitoes, he threw himself on the ground and rolled over and over in the sand. When he stood up, he looked like a ghost. His body was trembling.

“I can’t take it,’’ he said.

“Take a rest,” Guttmacher advised.

“I can’t go back there,” the distraught butcher exclaimed.

“Sure you can. Because if you don’t, I’ll have to.”

Guttmacher stepped back into place and swung another bucket toward Tevye. In the swamp, Bat Sheva and Ariel kept working. They looked at each other and smiled. The buzzing mosquitoes didn’t seem to disturb them, as if they were in a cloud by themselves. Tevye was amazed at his daughter. All of her life, the girl had never been much of a worker. And if a spirit of self-sacrifice had been Golda’s emblem, their youngest child had grown up with an opposite nature. But suddenly, the girl had become an industrious pioneer, scooping up bucket after bucket without a word of complaint.

“I quit,” Yankele proclaimed, brushing the sand from his clothes. “I can’t take this anymore. You people can he heroes if you want to. I’m going to America.’’

“What do you think you are going to find in America?” Tevye asked.

“Swimming pools, for one thing, not swamps. I read your daughter’s letter. She didn’t say one word about mosquitoes, nor about Arabs, nor about plagues.”

“My daughter, God bless her, doesn’t always see things for what they really are. For instance, I would rather stay here with the snakes and mosquitoes and work in this swamp than live with her miserable husband who treats me with scorn because I work in a barn.”

“B’vakasha,” Yankele said. “By all means. You can have my place in line. Be my guest.”

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
The Gaza Region
Live Updates: Hamas Rockets Explode in Southern Israel (16:39pm)
Latest Sections Stories
Lewis-081514-Anna-Ticho

“I didn’t choose the landscape; it chose me.”

Astaire-081514

Woe to us that we have to be put to death like common heathen and murderers!

Baim-081514

The world sees the hand of God through us, and does not like it.

Rosen-081514-Amen

The Rebbetzin began campaigning to increase public awareness of the importance of saying Amen.

Some educators today believe that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder falls into an executive function category.

It’s ironic that the reality of death is often the greatest force steering the affirmation of life.

The theme of the event was “Together Let us Rebuild our Holy Beis HaMikdash on Tisha B’Av.”

Chaya Aydel Seminary has already established a close connection with France’s Jewish community.

All attendees left with fervent wishes for a swift and lasting peace in Israel.

How can awareness evolve from exploding stars?

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

The traditional services that take place here transport visitors back in time, enabling them to smell and feel the authentic historical experience.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: