*Blogger’s Note: I am keeping in step with this blog’s perspective of Christ-centered spirituality in contrast to dogmatic religion, as I acknowledge an author who wrote Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Dairyman) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. I have mentioned on another one of my blogs that our family (two kiddos and my one wife … I have only had one wife) is taking part (or parts) in the Fiddler on the Roof play. We have been immensely blessed to be a part of this production.
“Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.” – Sholem Aleichem
Our cast and crew are absolutely wonderful people with great talent. Their hearts are so good. I have included a picture of Sholem Aleichem, which I think is a very interesting picture! It is true that Joseph Stein is the author of Fiddler on the Roof. But Aleichem came up with the character of Tevye, and Aleichem’s work was the basis for The Fiddler on the Roof. This story’s setting takes place in Tsarist Russia, 1904, in a small town known as Anatevka.
As a young kiddo, I was refused the envied admission into the company of my older brothers / friends, in their great adventures. That message had a, somewhat, ominous similarity to the message our biblical predecessors (referred to in the Bible) received: “You are not welcome here .. We do not want you around …” For me, I was able to be healed from my childhood stigma and alienation dispensed from my pseudo-elders.
This message to the folks in Anatevka is near the very core of the Fiddler on the Roof, a message brought from those Russians bullying the Jewish folks: “You aren’t welcome here … We don’t want you around … We don’t like you.” Such a message cut far deeper into the souls and the dignity of the folks in Anatevka, compared to my childhood conflict with my brothers. So, what is happening … that God would be glorified, somehow, by His people going through painful trials, like alienation, like suffering?
One thought that has emerged during our rehearsals, during our own individual script-memorization sessions: I am not able to fathom the hell-on-earth Jewish people have gone through … such as the Holocaust. There is no way. The Old Testament carries countless descriptions of God-honoring, Biblical impact-players being ostracized, persecuted, alienated, banished, tortured, killed, bullied ….
And, I quietly consider that most of us experienced some level of being ostracized, persecuted, alienated, banished, bullied, told that we are not welcome, told that we have to leave … and some have been tortured. One of the truths that cannot be disputed is that oppression, hatred, racism, injustice has been around for a long, long time, sustained by many different ethnic groups. We all need to be encouraged, and we all need hope. One of my favorite exchanges (there are many) takes place between Tevye and Mendel:
Mendel: "And our forefathers have been forced out of many, many places at a moment's notice.
"Tevye: "Maybe that is why we always wear our hats." (Tevye emits a slight grin as he says this)
Tevye’s words seem to emphasize the strength of both Tevye and the people of Anatevka, their resilience, which come out in the form of a seasoned sense of humor. By the way, for those in the Denver, CO area, there are still tickets available for Wednesday, the 19th of February. The Thursday (20th) and Friday (20th) performances are sold out. (303) 670-1319
Image of the Fiddler on the Roof (left) from http://freudsbutcher.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/fiddler-on-the-roof.jpg