web analytics
June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Three: Off to the Promised Land

Tevye in the Promised Land

“Why don’t we join them?” Shammai asked.

“Where are their skullcaps?” the Rabbi responded.

“God looks on what’s in the heart, not what’s on the outside,” their leader, Ben Zion said.

“Has God spoken to you that you know what He judges important?” the white-bearded scholar retorted.

“God doesn’t have to speak to us in words for us to understand His message. How many times must the Russians chase us out of our villages until we realize that we don’t belong in their land? Haven’t we been exiled enough? God wants us to have our own country.”

“God wants us to live by the Torah,” the Rabbi said.

“We have a new Torah,” one of the other Zionists called out. “The Torah of freedom, and the will in our hearts to work the soil of our own Jewish land.”

Tevye looked from the young heretics with their uncovered heads to the old, wizened face of the Rabbi.

“We will return to our land when the Mashiach takes us there,” he said, pronouncing his final decision. As if to emphasize his resolve, the Rabbi took the reins out of the hands of his son and gave their horse a flick. The wagon jerked forward. The tanner yelled out “Mashiach!” Others echoed his cry. Soon, the Jews of Anatevka were singing a song of their own, a lively Hasidic ballad filled with longing for the Mashiach, the Jewish messiah and king:

“Mashiach, Mashiach, Mashiach, la, la, la, la, la.

Mashiach, Mashiach, Mashiach, la, la, la, la, la.

Even though his coming may be delayed,

We will wait for him every day

With the hope that he will come, la, la, la, la, la.”

The tanner, the woodcutter, the scribe, and the slaughterer all returned to their families and wagons, and the procession once again moved onward, on the road to other lands and other foreign rulers. Only Tevye stood in his place, dust on his shoes, deep in ponderous thought.

“What about you, old man?” Ben Zion asked him. “Do you have the courage to stand tall and be a proud Jew in our own Promised Land?”

There was something in the words of the young Zionist pioneer that tugged at Tevye’s heart. True, his daughter, Baylke, was in America, and everyone knew that even an incompetent shlimazl of a milkman could become a millionaire in New York overnight, but how long would it be before persecutions began even there? At least in the Land of Israel, a Jew could feel like a Jew! After all, three times a day in his prayers, a Jew faced Jerusalem, not New York.

The words of the Rabbi echoed in Tevye’s mind as if in rebuttal. “Where are their skullcaps?” he had pointedly inquired, meaning that everyone enjoyed a nice Zionist song, but where was their tradition; where was their love and reverence for God? Hadn’t Tevye suffered enough from free-thinkers when Perchik had stolen away his daughter? Perchik too was brimming with slogans and highfalutin ideals, and where had it led but to prison? Who knew if Tevye would ever see his wonderful Hodel again? Did he want to take the same chance with another one of his daughters? Tevye wasn’t blind. He had seen the look in their eyes when the cocky, young “Herzl” had exchanged passionate words with the Rabbi.

Tevye stared after the Zionists as they marched in formation along the road to Odessa. There was a confidence, a pride, a spirit, and a purpose to their movements that Tevye recalled from his youth. They held their backs straight, actualizing the prayer which a Jew said everyday of his life, beseeching the Almighty “to shatter the yoke of foreign rulers and return us upright to our Land.” It was happening in front of Tevye’s eyes! The Zionists marched upright, their heads held high, envisioning a more hopeful future. What a different picture from the Jews of Anatevka who trudged along on their journey, bent over from the burdens of exile, dragging their tired feet in the dust, heads bowed like cattle, not knowing what lay ahead, where they were going, nor what they would do when they got there.

Tevye reached down for his tzitzit. The thin strings hanging down from his ritual undergarment were like lifelines, reminding the dreamer in him that he was a simple milkman, and not a young pioneer. “Thou shall not wander after pulling of your heart, nor after the sight of your eyes,” the commandment instructed. His daughters were staring at him. Tzeitl, Hava, Ruchel, and Bat Sheva. Little Moishe and Hannie gazed up at their grandfather too, as if to say, “Nu? What are we waiting here for?”

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.


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.

No Responses to “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Three: Off to the Promised Land”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Pro-Israel Group: Tell Chuck Schumer Not to Cave [video]
Latest Sections Stories

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

Food-Talk---Eller-logo

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

Respler-062615

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

Everyone in the kehilla can get involved, she added, and mothers can network with each other.

On her first ever trip to Israel last week, popular radio talk-show personality and clinical psychologist Dr. Joy Browne, whose spirited broadcasts regularly attract millions of listeners across North America, paid a visit to OneFamily headquarters in Jerusalem in order to learn more about the physical and emotional challenges faced by victims of terror in […]

With the famous Touro Synagogue, a variety of mansions, each with its own distinct personality, as well as the beautiful coast, Rhode Island makes for an excellent vacation spot.

To avoid all this waste and unnecessary anxiety, let’s break the task down step by step and tackle each one at a time.

While there are those who insist they need full-color photos to be truly entranced by a recipe, I suggest you get over that particular requirement because the written word here will draw you in and cause you to salivate as you peruse the recipes scattered throughout The Well-Spiced Life (Israel Book Shop).

For those who couldn’t go off base, a personal parcel was priceless in its ability to convey a feeling of home.

With the danger of being discovered always a possibility, the partisans not only moved around in the forest, but also eliminated any collaborators.

We never cease to be students, even when we are no longer in school. Therefore, everyone can learn from these elements of thought.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Tzvi Fishman at Cemetery of Mount of Olives

Going to Mt of Olives cemetery was like visiting Jurassic Park in a jeep with dinosaurs rampaging

The "Rightist" author and artist, Tzvi Fishman

To boost aliya, Israel will encourage Marshall’s, Costco, K Mart & Entenmann’s Bakeries to open here

Of course there’s air in America, but it isn’t the holy air of Eretz Yisrael.

The warnings came true: Among the 1000 released terrorists, many returned to terror activity

Torah is to be lived. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was a completely living Torah, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-three-off-to-the-promised-land/2012/07/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: