web analytics
December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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.

Tevye and the former Morasha settlers became the new pioneers of Olat HaShachar. It soon became clear that the only thing poetic about the new colony was its melodious name. The swamps smelled like rotten eggs and sulphur. Scorpions, spiders, and snakes crawled over its sands. Mosquitoes swarmed in the air like demons. “Isn’t it a blessing?” Shimon asked, waving his hand out over the vista below.

Miles of sand dunes and swamp land stretched out before them as Tevye, Nachman, and the overweight leader of the “Lovers of Zion” brigade stood on the crest of a hill overlooking the coastline terrain. A village of tents had been erected between the dunes to house the new pioneers.

“This is a blessing?” Tevye asked.

“Of course, it’s a blessing,” Shimon enthusiastically responded, as if his eyes saw orchards and groves filled with fruit. “Our own plot of land in Eretz Yisrael! What could be a greater blessing than this?”

“You call this land?” Tevye asked. “This is nothing but desert and swamp.”

“I am surprised at you, Tevye. You look far wiser than your words. I see in your eyes that you have the heart of a believer. Is it too much for God to turn what you see into gardens and vineyards? To quote from the Scriptures: ‘Is the Lord’s hand too short?’

“The Lord can do whatever He pleases. The question is, can we?”

“If we can’t, then nobody can. This is the land that God gave us. Surely, if we set to the task with trust in our Maker, our Rock shall not fail us.”

“With God’s help, we can turn these swamps into cities,” Tevye’s son-in-law said.

“I think both of you are dreamers!” Tevye answered. “A Jew is called upon to have faith, but suicide is forbidden.”

Tevye’s skepticism seemed to puncture their bubble. Even the energetic Shimon was momentarily quiet.

“How many of your men have already been lost?” Tevye asked.

“Three,” Shimon admitted. “But their lives won’t be in vain. We’ll dry up this swamp, you’ll see. We have waited two thousand years to return to our heritage, and we are not going to let some bothersome mosquitoes stop us.”

Tevye gazed at the young settlement leader. In a way, he reminded Tevye of Ben Zion. He spoke with the same fervor and had the same happy gleam in his eyes. The only difference was that Shimon had a beard, and while Ben Zion had relied upon his own strength and cleverness, Shimon relied upon God’s. His faith was as big as his bulk. What Goliath had been blessed with in height, Shimon had been blessed with in width. But it was the muscle of a bull, not fat, proving he was no stranger to work.

“You actually expect us to go into that quicksand to dry it up?” Tevye asked.

“How else?” Shimon responded.

“It’s like sacrificing humans to Molech,” Tevye observed.

“It’s a job that has to be done,” Shimon answered.

“Rishon Le Zion was once all swamp land too,” Nachman noted. “With hard work and God’s help, we will succeed in transforming this wasteland into a paradise for all Jews.”

“Both of you are crazy,” Tevye said.

Not only Shimon and Nachman were crazy. It turned out that all of the “Lovers of Zion” had their heads in the clouds. Not that they were mystics in the traditional sense of the word. Tevye didn’t see any of them walking around with the holy Zohar, but they all had a towering, supernatural faith in their mission.

Nachman tried to explain their great passion. Unlike popular legend, he said, the Zionist movement had not started with Theodor Herzl, but with the great rabbi, the Gaon of Vilna, more than a hundred years earlier. Possessed with a prophetic spirit, the renowned scholar had urged his students to make the long, dangerous journey to Eretz Yisrael With tears in his eyes, he warned that only in Zion would the Jews find a refuge from the horrible persecution which was destined to befall thcm in Russia and Europe. Faithful to their teacher’s command, his students had been the first Jewish pioneers to have reached the shores of Palestine during the first wave of immigration, or aliyah. Other great rabbis took up the call of the Gaon in rallying the Jews to wake up from their Diaspora slumber. The time had come to fulfill the words of their prayers and the longings of generations to return to the land of Zion and Jerusalem. Rabbis Guttmacher and Kalisher founded the “Lovers of Zion.” In fact, Nachman insisted, it was another great spiritual leader, Rabbi Shmuel Mohaliver, who inspired Baron Edmond Rothschild to support the Zionist cause. Naturally, as the movement spread, Jews from all walks of life became enthused with the dream of building a homeland in Zion, free from the oppression that had hounded them for nearly two-thousand years of wandering in foreign lands. For some, like Herzl, the new Jewish State would solve the “Jewish problem” by providing a political refuge for the Jews. For others, like Perchik and other disillusioned Marxists, it was a chance to build a new social utopia. And for the followers of the Vilna Gaon and the “Lovers of Zion,” the Jewish national revival in Eretz Yisrael was all of those goals, but also something much greater. The re-establishment of the Jewish nation in Israel was to be the harbinger for the Kingdom of God in the world, ushering in a time of universal blessing and peace.

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
King Abdullah II
Intel: Abdullah — the Last Hashemite King of Jordan
Latest Sections Stories

Today’s smiles are in the merit of my friend and I made a conscious effort to smile throughout the day.

Schonfeld-logo1

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

How many potential shidduchim are not coming about because we, the mothers, are not allowing them to go through?

Is the Torah offering nechama by subtly hinting that death brings reunion with loved ones who preceded you?

She approached Holofernes and, with a sword concealed under her robe, severed his head.

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

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: