October 28, 2011 Friday
Tuesday night we (the kids and I) saw Fiddler on the Roof downtown. It was an awesome experience and opened so many topics. That play is literally filled with deep discussion from covenants to treatment of Jews to parenting to communication with God. As a child, I remember loving it, but when I watched it on TV as an adult I was amazed at how much is in it…I think that was when I bought my Jewish Atlas to learn more about the history of the Jews because I hadn’t remembered the actual context of their lives and the situation they were in. Anyway, the kids were attentive throughout-it was close to 3 hours long; it was beautifully done, the dance and singing numbers, great acting, especially Tevye.
On the way home, we were talking about reasons that Tevye was troubled by his daughters’ choice of suitors and eventually husbands. In the first case, they didn’t consult the matchmaker and chose each other for themselves, without his choice or approval. He eventually agreed to their choice with some pain and challenge from wife and community. The second daughter chose a revolutionary (but still a Jew) completely independent of her father’s involvement. She didn’t really even ask for his approval; she said we’re doing this regardless (I think)and she was leaving home to be with him without being married in a jewish ceremony. The third chose a Russian non-Jewish boy and that was grounds for disowning, which Tevye did. I think in the play we see a father progressively letting go of his traditions and recognizing his daughters’ love and happiness from their choices—as though this is right and acceptable and obvious. When he disowns the third daughter, I’m sure most of the audience cannot relate in the least—it seems cold and uncaring and completely unbelievable in today’s world. But in her case, she is marrying out of the covenant; the scriptures are filled with God’s efforts and desire for his children to be of the same faith and be able to make covenants together.
I explained all of this on the way home and it was a real revelation to Sam. He immediately verbally committed to only marry a girl he could marry in the temple. I don’t remember all of the language—he had some caveats— But he felt something and desired to commit. It was powerful and what was amazing was that it grew out of his recognition of truth, not out of my committing him. He chose it independently because it was right.
Still no word from the county magistrate in Taiwan. I feel fine about things and more than anything, I am hopeful that we can find a place to live that will help our family thrive. We are so unsure about buying, but renting a larger house will up the costs considerably. We have been spoiled with this house, rent and neighborhood. It has been a wonderful place.