web analytics
April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Twenty-Four: Morasha

Tevye.500

“You are going to be kind to us today, aren’t you, my beloved?” he whispered, addressing the earth as if it could hear. “Your children have come home, so you can put your thistles and thorns away, and open your arms to embrace us. Believe me, we have suffered enough in our exile. May bygones be bygones, and let’s start again anew just like a bride and a groom.”

“Talking to yourself?” Reb Guttmacher asked, passing by with the shovel that never left his hand.

“I was just saying good morning to our sweet Morasha soil.”

“Take the advice of someone who has worked outdoors all his life, if you are going to work in the fields, you should wear a hat with a brim. The sun can make a man crazy.”

Tevye stood up and brushed the dirt off his pants. “Sometimes I think we are all a little crazy.”

“Yes, I know. As Dr. Weizmann is supposed to have said, `You don’t have to be crazy to be a Zionist, but it helps.'”

“You have to admit, it is better to be a poor farmer in one’s own land than a rich businessman in someone else’s.”

“Do you really believe that?” the undertaker asked.

Tevye smiled. “I’m trying to,” he said.

At Tevye’s age, working in the hot sun all the day was no simple matter, but he was determined to carry his share of the burden. The undertaker assisted him, teaching him some of the tricks of the trade, how to best hold a spade and upturn the hard soil without straining his back, but the hours took their toll. Until an outer layer of callous grew over his soft milkman’s hands, his palms would blister and bleed. Sometimes, the pain was so great, the shovel would slip from his grip, but immediately, he would lift up the tool and set back to work. The younger settlers like Ariel and Yigal encouraged the older settlers along, singing songs and shoveling in time to their music. And in the evening, to bolster their spirits, Nachman extolled the great virtues of being in the Holy Land, where every shovelful of earth brought them closer to  God.

“You are right,” Tevye agreed. “We certainly are getting closer to God, because this back-breaking toil is killing us.”

Every morning, the farmers rose before dawn to make the long trek to the fields. Work on the canal was temporarily postponed so that the shovelers could join in the task of clearing a road for their wagons. Lunch consisted of sour bread, sardines, and cucumbers bought from the Arabs who lived in the neighboring hills. For a generous fee, the Arabs gave them permission to draw water from a well on their property. Water was retrieved by dropping a bucket and rope into a hole ten meters deep. Usually, it took several efforts before they succeeded in filling the bucket, and by then the water was murky with mud. With the unsightly black water, they boiled a tea of sorts which was hardly refreshing. It wasn’t unusual for a worker to pass the night with a fever and a vomiting attack of green bile. But the next morning, everyone was back to work, driven by the call of their mission. When the colony’s roots were established, a team of agricultural specialists sent by the Company to instruct the new settlers in planting techniques and fertilization arrived in Morasha. The JCA also provided each settler with a team of two horses, a harness, a cart, a plow, seed for 150 dunams, one cow, a chicken coop, five chickens, animal fodder, a food allowance for one year, and fifty francs for sundries. Mattocks, picks, shovels, sickles, and scythes were not on the company list, so the pioneers had to share the few tools they had until an emergency requisition order arrived after a long, four-month wait. While many needed items were missing from each shipment, the relief wagons were always met with a great celebration, as if the Mashiach himself had come. LeClerc frowned on their demands, as if the expenses came out of his pocket. Finally, desperately needed equipment arrived. There were eight new mattocks, four shovels, two scythes, a saw, an axe, a hammer and nails, three buckets, four pairs of suspenders, four floppy sun hats, one rifle, four blankets, some writing paper, and a dog. Important as the supplies were to the settlers, it was the feeling that they weren’t alone – that other Jews stood behind them, including the Baron and all of his wealth. That, along with their faith in God, gave them the strength to keep going.

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-Four: Morasha”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Obama Stops Punishing Egypt for Dumping Muslim Brotherhood Prez
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

While we are all accustomed to the occasional recipe substitutions – swapping milk for creamer, applesauce for oil – gluten-free cooking is a whole different ballgame.

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.”

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.

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-four-morasha/2013/01/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: