I grew up listening to my father singing the songs from Fiddler on the Roof with such gusto; so on the event of his 22nd yartzeit, I used to be in New York (final 12 months, after we may nonetheless journey) and went to see Fiddler – in Yiddish! I used to be a bit apprehensive concerning the Yiddish, however was pleasantly stunned to see that whereas the English subtitles have been an enormous assist, I’ve a big vocabulary of Yiddish phrases and sayings. Wow, what a present! It was like my childhood got here to life. Seeing Tevye because the devoted household and neighborhood man was very nostalgic for me. My dad was a lot like Tevye.This time I watched with totally different eyes, extra mature, not little “Mammela” anymore, however a grown lady with grown-up youngsters. The story is definitely fairly tragic and has deeper which means and ramifications for a way we proceed our wealthy Jewish custom and faith. One of many highlights is the opening tune of “Custom.” I can see in my thoughts’s eye how my father would shake his forefinger, singing, “Custom… Custom!” any time a state of affairs arose that veered off the trail a bit. When the tune was sung within the present it bought me considering deeper as to how precisely we’ve survived because the Jewish folks. What’s the secret? It’s mentioned that Napoleon, upon seeing the Jews crying concerning the destruction of their temples on Tisha Be’av, exclaimed, “A nation that may mourn for thus lengthy the lack of its land and temple will return sooner or later to see it rebuilt.” How is it potential that we’ve survived for 1000’s of years despite each conceivable persecution? Irrespective of the place we’ve been exiled to, we’ve clung to the continuation of our previous by way of the wealthy tradition and nuances of our custom. Moreover, Tevye demonstrates a reference to God as a approach to keep custom. All through the present he’s all the time quoting “The Good Ebook” and is consistently in dialogue with God. He explains that God’s legal guidelines hold the lives of the folks in stability, and in the event that they didn’t have their traditions, their lives can be “as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.” This deepened my understanding of how we’ve survived; it’s by way of dedication to our heritage. After we have been threatened with loss of life and annihilation, we selected to enmesh ourselves in our legal guidelines.Two essential traditions which have ensured our survival are that of marriage and Shabbat. Enter Yenta, the devoted matchmaker, a feisty nagging previous woman who by no means lets up! I really feel there’s a piece of her in every of us because it doesn’t matter what our spiritual degree is, we’ve a robust pull to set folks up, virtually as whether it is a part of our DNA. Judaism’s deeper concept behind marriage isn’t just bodily love and dedication, however the non secular union of two souls. The normal features of the ceremony which have been carried out for 1000’s of years weaves one thing from previous generations into this new couple and so they, in flip, kind a hyperlink with the previous for future generations. Watching the play, I felt unhappy to see that as every of Tevye’s daughters married, this idea grew to become an increasing number of diluted. The primary marriage was one among love and non secular dedication, the second of affection and customary nationwide concepts, and the third of affection however a rejection of her faith and religion altogether. This felt tragic as I watched it unfold. It’s not only a play, it’s what is occurring throughout us at this time as nicely. And what of the era that marries out? How can we hold our custom alive after we are confronted with so many leaving?
Rising up, I keep in mind my father continuously warning us youngsters concerning the significance of marrying Jews and persevering with the custom. Again within the early ‘90’s, after 5 years of courting, Ian and I bought engaged. What a celebration! “To life. To life. L’Chaim!” I keep in mind as we excitedly made the marriage plans, my dad was actually like Tevye, and every time I mentioned prices, he would soar to his ft and burst into tune, “If I have been a wealthy man, daidle-deedle-daidle-deedle-daidle-deedle-daidle-dum.” He would have cherished the Yiddish model of “Ven Ikh Bin a Rothschild.” It was at this stage of the efficiency that I turned to the empty seat subsequent to me and “requested” my dad, “Are you having fun with the present?” Once I bought married I spotted the significance of marrying a Jew, however solely now do I see how basically essential it’s that marrying Jewish is the one method to make sure the continuation of the custom. It’s this identical message that I cross on to my 4 daughters, as a result of I see myself as a hyperlink within the custom, and if the chain ends with me, then that might be tragic.“Dawn, sundown, dawn, sundown.” This tune introduced a flood of tears to me as I recalled dancing with my dad to this tune at my very own marriage ceremony. “Is that this the little lady I carried? Is that this the little boy at play? I don’t keep in mind rising older, When did they?” It dawned on me that weddings are a bittersweet time the place mother and father hand over their valuable youngsters into the arms of their soulmate. I keep in mind the enjoyment and blessings I felt as my dad and I danced, the privilege I skilled of getting this glorious particular person as my father, function mannequin and devoted cheerleader. I didn’t even take into account any disappointment that he is perhaps feeling together with his “mamella” leaving residence. As I watched Fiddler now, extra mature, I thought of all of the years of loss and absence I’ve felt since my dad died. Had I solely referred to as I danced with my dad that night time that there wouldn’t be many extra sunrises or sunsets for him. The lesson I take from that is to be absolutely in every second experiencing them and “dwell deep and suck out all of the marrow of life,” as Henry David Thoreau mentioned.Fortunately our faith affords us a powerful approach to be absolutely current with out distraction, and that’s the reward of Shabbat. Ahad Ha’am, the poet and thinker, mentioned, “Greater than Jews have saved Shabbat, Shabbat has saved the Jews.” For me, it’s a two-way relationship. I cease and take a break at creating and doing in my world for Shabbat, and as I do that, Shabbat nurtures me. Shabbat is a sacred time, to take a break from the bodily and materials world the place we do, do, do, and to come across the non secular. It’s a time to be, a time the place we disconnect with the intention to actually join with these round us and our Creator. It’s a humbling time the place we understand that the world continues to exist completely with out our enter.Rising up we have been fortunate to have “time for supper” every night time when the household assembled to eat. There was even dessert in the course of the week! Supper lasted half an hour, if that, however on Shabbat there have been company, cousins, scrumptious delicacies and particular meals which we might by no means eat in the course of the week. Friday night time was made particular by blessings from my father, home-baked challot, tinned asparagus (which we have been allowed to eat with our fingers as a result of the Queen of England eats hers with fingers), roasted turkey, chopped liver, hand-painted chocolate leaves, doughnuts and singing! And it went on for hours. No one was off dashing anyplace and there have been common information questions being requested, and plenty of “How was your week?” Because the characters have been operating across the stage making ready for Shabbat, it introduced me proper again to my childhood Shabbatot.At this time, I really like that on Shabbat everybody attire up, no telephones come to the desk, and I, too, proceed the traditions I grew up with (even the asparagus. I nonetheless can’t convey myself to eat them in the course of the week). I believe my dad would have cherished Shabbat meals in my residence. It frames my life as it’s appeared ahead to and deliberate for from Tuesday, and after it finishes, it leaves me replenished to enter the brand new week. So, Shabbat is that this nice reward, an excellent custom that we’ve to reconnect, recharge and replenish; in actual fact, it’s most likely a present that the entire world would profit from. Sarcastically, being in ‘lockdown’ throughout this COVID-19 pandemic time, surrounded by my daughters and husband on a regular basis has felt nurturing, like a style of Shabbat on a regular basis of the week.WHILE TRADITION for Tevye is one thing rooted within the historic previous, for me it contains the passing down of traditions I dwell by that are additionally sturdy themes in Fiddler. I resonated deeply with the songs “Miracle of Miracles” and “Now I’ve The whole lot.” Their themes have had a big influence on me as foundations with which I dwell my life, and I’m hopeful that I’m passing these attitudes on to my youngsters; like my very own custom. “Miracle of miracles” is about seeing miracles in our lives. Albert Einstein as soon as mentioned, “There are two methods to dwell your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The opposite is as if the whole lot is a miracle.” After we acknowledge miracles, it brings us to a spot of gratitude as to simply how a lot we’ve been abundantly gifted. The opposite tune, “Now I’ve The whole lot,” can also be impactful in my angle. What’s “the whole lot”? It’s a notion, a perspective about appreciation, an angle in life. Can we thank God for the hundreds of thousands of particular person blessings we’ve been given? Can we ever take into account a superbly functioning liver or listening to? What concerning the folks in our lives? Can we inform them on an odd Tuesday how our lives are richer as a result of they’re in it? Or are we nonetheless ready for extra? We are saying within the morning blessings, “Bless are You, King of the universe, Who has offered me with the whole lot that I would like.” We don’t say “Who WILL present me.” We are saying “offered,” in previous tense. The whole lot we want, we have already got. These attitudes are one thing else that Coronavirus has highlighted for us. What are the necessities in my life?Because the present drew to a tragic finish, following the pogrom and expulsion of all of the Jews from Anatevka, I had a heavy coronary heart as I noticed the repetition of our historical past: Babylon, Rome, Spain, Poland… and extra. Frantically, all of them put together to go in their very own instructions, households being torn aside and the wealthy shtetl life deserted. The guts-breaking efficiency ends with a glimmer of hope the place Yenta the matchmaker declares that she goes to the Land of Israel, lastly ending her standing because the “wandering Jew.” Just like Yenta, at this stage of my life, I really feel privileged to have made aliyah and am now dwelling in Israel with my valuable household. My father would have been so proud! As Tevye’s household leaves Anatevka, a fiddler performs and follows them off the stage. What might be sooner or later? I hope I’m passing on the legacy of my father and ancestors to my youngsters who will, in flip, proceed to take action for the following era.  The author runs an integrative wellness clinic providing on-line periods of psychological imagery for therapeutic, logotherapy and bereavement counseling, and reflexology. She is obsessed with supporting and empowering folks by way of their diseases and challenges. www.dkwellness.co.il, devorah@dkwellness.co.il





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