web analytics
July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Twenty: Zichron Ya’acov


Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

The thought of being united with his Ruchel boosted Tevye’s spirits. It seemed like his fortune might be taking a turn for the better. Who could tell? The Almighty worked in mysterious fashions. One day, He could snap a man’s back like a twig, and the next day raise him up to sit at a table with kings. With a little mazel, things would work out for the best. Bat Sheva would marry Shmuelik. Hava would forget about Hevedke. Perchik would recognize his misguided path and become a penitent baal tshuva. Ruchel and Nachman would join them in building a new settlement. The Mashiach would come, and Golda, Tzeitl, Shprintza, Motel, and even Ben Zion would all arise from the dead.

Two weeks later, Tevye received a second letter from Ruchel. She had lost her pregnancy. The very same night in a dream, Tzeitl had appeared to her saying that Moishe and Hannie were waiting. Nachman had told her to go back to sleep. But an hour later, Tzeitl had returned with the very same message. “A dream which is repeated is true,” Nachman said. The next morning, they had written a letter to the Baron Rothschild himself. If the Jewish Colony Association was truly Jewish, how could it turn its back on the mitzvah of caring for orphans? They would wait for the Baron’s answer, Ruchel said, and if it were negative, then Tevye should plan to come to pick them up in his wagon.

Since he was writing a letter to Ruchel, Tevye decided to send a letter to his daughter, Baylke, in America. He did not know where she was, but his wife, Golda, may her memory be for a blessing, had a cousin in Chicago. Tevye had saved his address between the pages of his battered and yellowing Psalm book.

“Who knows?” Golda had said in her pragmatic manner. “Maybe you will need his address one day. We were never the closest of cousins, but family is family.”

When Baylke set off for New York with her good-for-nothing husband, Tevye had given her the Chicago address and told her to write to their cousin to let him know where she was living. Not that his beautiful, headstrong daughter ever took his advice, but in a strange land like America, she might long for some family to remind her of home. Reb Heshie Mendel was his name, cousin of the same Menachem Mendel who had swindled Tevye out of the only savings he had ever managed to amass in his life. Tevye sent him a note, asking him to please forward the letter to Baylke if he knew where she was. Before sealing the envelope, he stuck a few blades of grass inside with the prayer that the blessing and holiness of Eretz Yisrael would bring good fortune into her life.

The new Hasidic colony was to be named Morasha, which meant inheritance in Hebrew. Two things in the Bible were called Morasha – the Torah, and the Land of Israel. These two foundations went hand in hand, as it said, “Therefore you shall keep all of the commandments which I command you this day, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the Land which I give you as a Morasha, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Apparently, bureaucratic problems in Constantinople were holding up the purchase of the land which the JCA had offered to buy from the Turkish government. While many kibbutzim had been started in deserted regions by buying tracts of land from Arabs whose claims of ownership were based on the principle of squatters’ rights, the Baron was meticulous in acquiring legal permission through all of the authorized channels. In the meantime, the small group of fifteen Chabad Hasidim met every week to draw up plans for the colony. They had been sent to Eretz Yisrael by their Rebbe to join in the great mitzvah of settling the Land.

One morning, Tevye joined the band of bearded Jews on a reconnoitering mission to the site, a half-day journey southeast of Zichron Yaacov. The land which the Company had chosen lay along the ridge of a mountain which rose over the coastal plain. When they reached the area, broad, rolling vistas stretched out before them, making their dreams of establishing a new colony a reality. Tevye fell to his knees and scooped up a handful of earth. Hillel opened a bottle of wine. Everyone drank a happy L’Chaim. Only Goliath sensed that something was missing. Among the novice settlers, he was the only Jew who had earned his livelihood outdoors in the wilds. Tevye was a milkman. Hillel, a musician. Shmuelik, a scholar. Reb Lazer, a tailor. Munsho, a blacksmith. Reb Shilo, a carpenter. Pincus, a storekeeper. Reb Shraga, a scribe. Yankele was a butcher and a mohel. And Chaim Lev, the Galitzianer from Poland, who had joined the group of Hasids, was a handyman and fixer. Only the big lumberjack knew how to read the layout of the land, and the first thing he noticed, or rather didn’t notice, was water. Standing on a knoll overlooking the imaginary orchards before them, he noticed that there wasn’t a brook in sight.

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 Twenty: Zichron Ya’acov”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Future guard? Arab child with Hamas headband aims toy rifle on the Temple Mount after prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque.
CNN Promotes Old City on Verge of Extinction Due to ‘Political Tension’
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

South-Florida-logo

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

South-Florida-logo

“Thanks to a local philanthropist who shares our core mission, we now are able to connect more Jewish teens to Israel than ever before,” said Todd Cohn, executive director of Southern NCSY.

In September 2013 he was appointed head rabbi of the IDF Central Command and is currently in charge of special projects for the IDF chief rabbinate.

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

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.”

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.

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

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.

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-twenty-zichron-yaacov/2012/11/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: