web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Twenty-Eight: Waiting for the Baron

Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

The industrious pace continued all the next day. While there

were pressing chores to be done in the fields, everything was set aside in order to turn the tiny settlement into a showplace. Women excitedly prepared the morrow’s royal luncheon, and children rehearsed Zionist songs so that the “Morasha Choir” could entertain the visitors. In the afternoon, when LeClerc gath­ered all of the settlers together to stage a practice welcoming ceremony, an argument broke out between Tevye and Pincus, regarding which one of the two men would deliver the welcoming speech. Both held up handwritten pages which they had already penned. Munsho, the blacksmith, had to step between them to prevent them from coming to blows. Finally, LeClerc announced that he, and he alone, would speak on behalf of the settlers.

“That’s ridiculous,” Pincus protested. “You aren’t even a Jew! What right do you have to decide things for us?”

LeClerc’s face took on the bright red color of his hair. “You are all ungrateful scoundrels,” the Frenchman retorted. “If I hadn’t arranged for the Baron’s visit, he never would have deigned to step foot in this miserable wretch of a hole. If I hadn’t made a big fuss in Zichron, none of these supplies would have come. You have me, and me alone, to thank for everything you have. If I don’t receive the respect I deserve, I will call the visit off now. Is that understood?”

The settlers grumbled. Slowly, while LeClerc waited, they regrouped in their welcoming formation and stood quietly in line. What choice did they have? Though LeClerc himself personally hadn’t given them anything, the Company had, and he was their go-between. So, for the time being, until they could survive on their own, they had to obey his commands. Nonetheless, that evening a group of the men got together to write out a long list of complaints which they intended to hand to the Baron, including the demand that LeClerc be immediately replaced.

Tevye slipped his speech into his pocket, where he could easily find it the next day, whether he received LeClerc’s permission or not. He was so certain that he would personally meet the legendary Baron, he stood before his wife’s mirror and carefully trimmed his beard. The goateed philanthropist was known for his immaculate appearance, and Tevye wanted him to feel like he was conversing with an equally distinguished man.

In the morning, everyone hurried excitedly about making final preparations. A welcoming party of riders was organized and sent out to meet the Baron’s contingent and escort them to the yishuv. Hillel rode along on the wagon with his accordion to give the Zionist leaders the musical fanfare they deserved. Shmuelik took the Torah scroll out of the ark and carried it to the impressive new gateway of the colony, where he stood holding it in anticipation of the Baron’s arrival, as if he were waiting to greet a king. Girls with flower wreaths in their hair stood on the road all through the hot sunny morning, holding baskets filled with flowers which they intended to throw on the visitors, until Guttmacher’s wife had the sense to gather them into the shade. Younger children soon became restless with standing on line and returned to their usual games.

Tevye and Nachman walked to the mountaintop lookout to catch the first glimpse of the Baron and the statesman whom God had chosen to plead the Jewish people’s plight before the world’s dukes, prime ministers, presidents, emperors, archbishops, and kings. For hours, they stared to the east, waiting for the entourage to appear in the valley below. The sun rose higher in the sky until it was a blinding orb over their heads. LeClerc wasn’t sure of the time of arrival, so the settlers had guessed around noon. But when the arc of the sun reached its zenith and began to plunge toward the sea, Nachman said that they had obviously judged incorrectly. As the Mishna said, “The sons of kings awaken three hours into the day.” That meant that the aristocrats would not arrive before three. And who could predict the time of his coming for sure? They were, after all, on a scouting tour of the land, and perhaps they had planned other stops on the way.

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.

No Responses to “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Twenty-Eight: Waiting for the Baron”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
One-third of polled Republicans see President Obama as the biggest imminent threat to the USA.
One-Third of GOP Voters See Obama Worse for US than Assad and Putin
Latest Sections Stories
Something-Cooking-logo

Until the year I decided to put a stop to all my tremors. I realized that if I wanted my family to experience Pesach and its preparations as uplifting and fulfilling, I’d have to relax and loosen up.

Teens-032715

David looked up. “Hatzlacha, Dina,” he smiled. “I hope everything goes well.”

Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.

“If you don’t stand straight, you’ll never get a husband.”

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-twenty-eight-waiting-for-the-baron/2013/02/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: