web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Twenty-Nine: The Plague

Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

“I was wondering,” Shmuelik hesitantly began, not wanting to give the impression that he was contradicting his more-learned friend.

“By all means,” Nachman encouraged.

“If there is the slightest danger that the disease may spread to the residents of the colony, then perhaps it is a matter of pekuach nefesh, which would permit us to violate the Sabbath in order to save lives.”

“That’s an excellent point,” Nachman answered. “But that requires a more expert opinion than mine. Tevye, is there a danger that people can be contaminated from the cattle disease?”

Everyone looked at the famed veterinarian.

“People don’t get hoof and mouth disease, but they can be struck by cholera. A lot of epidemics have been known to start in barns.”

“God forbid,” the undertaker added.

“In that case,” Nachman concluded, “It is a mitzvah to remove the carcass from the barn and to bury it immediately!”

Thus the animal’s carcass was buried, but the incident left Tevye with premonitions regarding the future. One night, a week later, as Tevye trekked through the rain on his midnight rounds, he stumbled over another dead cow.

The very next evening, a cold stinging wind howled over the naked hillside. The night was so black, Tevye could hardly see. To distinguish friend from foe, he had ordered that lanterns be carried by any Jew who left his house after dark. The security committee had adopted this safety precaution after Hillel had taken a wild shot at Reb Pincus. The storekeeper had wandered away from his house late one evening to take care of his private needs in the outhouse. Thinking the dark form might be a prowler, Hillel panicked and fired. Fortunately for Pincus, the accordion player was a terrible shot.

Suddenly, just as Tevye was thinking how vulnerable the yishuv was to the elements, to invisible epidemics, and enemy attack, a bolt of lightning lit up the sky. In the brilliant white flash, Tevye saw two figures running away from the barn, carrying what looked like two sheep in their arms. A third figure appeared, cried out, and collapsed by the door of the barn.

“I’ve been stabbed! I’ve been stabbed,” the minstrel’s familiar voice called out.

A crash of thunder echoed through the heavens. Darkness returned to the mountainside. Tevye fired a shot in the air to alert the yishuv, and ran after the thieves. With the next crackle of lightning, Tevye spotted the prowlers and fired. The lead Arab tripped and his partner tumbled to the ground over him. Bleating, the two sheep ran free. By the time Tevye reached the site, one of the Arabs had fled. The other was limping as he scampered away. Tevye took off like a stallion. Breathing heavily, he managed to catch up with the thief. Shoving the Arab hard on the back, he toppled him down to the ground. Tevye stood over him, aiming his rifle at his head until reinforcements arrived. The Jews dragged the trembling Arab off to the barn, where Hillel sat slumped in the doorway. His hand glowed a bright shade of red. His shoulder was bleeding. But in the light of their lanterns, his wound appeared worse than it was.

The Jews tied the thief up to a post in the barn. When he refused to tell them to what tribe he belonged, Elisha continued the investigation in a more persuasive manner. The important thing, he said, was not to leave marks. In Yemen, Moslems would beat up the Jews in a similar fashion. That way, the Jews couldn’t prove to the authorities that they had been beaten.

The thief, it turned out, was from Muktar Mohammed’s village. Tevye wanted to complain personally to his friend, Mustafa, but the other settlers said that Tevye had complained in the past, and the stealing had continued even though the Muktar had assured them that it would stop.

“Either your friend doesn’t know what his tribesmen are up to, or he really doesn’t care,” Elisha said. A vote was taken, and it was decided to report the incident to the Turkish authorities. Luckily, Hillel had only been wounded. But the next time, Elisha warned, a Jew might he killed.

None other than Jamal Pasha himself, the Turkish military

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-Nine: The Plague”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, calling for rejection of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, on March 03, 2015.
Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Occasionally, a teacher will encounter a student who simply cannot be motivated to do his homework, finish his worksheet or study for a test.

Kupfer-030615

Times have changed and divorced people have sadly gone from being singularities to almost a sub-community.

Glimpses-logo-NEW

The ship’s captain apparently respected the Friedenwalds’ strict adherence to halacha because he allowed them to use his cabin for davening and other religious observances.

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

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-nine-the-plague/2013/03/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: