Tag Archives: Jewish

If I Bend That Far, I’ll Break

Fiddler on the Roof (film)

Tevye, the Jewish dairy farmer in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, lives with his wife and five daughters in czarist Russia. Change is taking place all around him, and the new patterns are nowhere more obvious to Tevye than in the relationship between the sexes. First, one of his daughters announces that she and a young tailor have pledged themselves to each other, even though Tevye had already promised her to the village butcher, a widower. Initially, Tevye will not hear of his daughter’s plans, but he finally has an argument with himself and decides to give in to the young lovers’ wishes. A second daughter also chooses the man she wants to marry. He is a revolutionary. Tevye is rather fond of him, and after another argument with himself he again concedes to the changing times.

Some time later Tevye’s third daughter wants to marry. She has fallen in love with a young Gentile. This violates Tevye’s deepest religious convictions, and it is unthinkable that one of his daughters would marry outside the faith. Once again, he has an argument with himself. He knows that his daughter is deeply in love, and he does not want her to be unhappy. Still, he cannot deny his convictions. “How can I turn my back on my faith, my people? If I try and bend that far, I’ll break!” Tevye pauses and says,”On the other hand…” He pauses again, and then he shouts very loudly. “No! There is no other hand!”

We all face times that if we bend anymore we will break. Breaking times need to be times of prayer and introspection. Answers to difficult questions should be considered and reconsidered many times before we decide there is no “other hand.” Far too many decisions are taken too lightly in this post-modern society. The monastics teach us to go into our “cells” and seek God with all our hearts.” When I have a truly difficult decision to make (or a problem), I often fast for a day, and occasionally even a few days.”(Thomas Merton) Remember, we must bend but God never asks us to break, only the world makes that demand.


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The Reward

Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration

Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration (Photo credit: Vectorportal)

Talk about an awesome responsibility!  A girl given a staggering task – to give birth to and rear God on earth.  God didn’t entrust his Son to the Jewish high priest, to a wealthy benefactor, not even to the most holy, God-fearing man of the times.  He entrusted his Son to a teenage girl, without a husband, with no income, with no legal rights.  She had little life experience, no education, no property, no defense against the scurrilous attacks on her character.

Yet, Mary was willing.  She wanted what God wanted.  She had no agenda of her own.  She was willing to put Him first and herself last even if it meant that her moral reputation would be ruined, leaving her a social outcast.  She risked her relationship with her fiancé to do God’s will with the realization that she might come out of this without one earthly soul to stand by her side.  Why?  Her heart’s desire was to serve the Lord.  Nothing else on earth compared with that commitment.  That’s why God entrusted little Mary, barely an adolescent, with his Son.

And, Mary was faithful – to the God she worshipped, adored, and longed to serve.  When she didn’t understand all that was happening in her life, she was faithful to her task.  She never once wavered in her commitment to her Lord – her child.  She was faithful all the way to the cross as she witnessed every tortuous moment of the crucifixion.  She held His lifeless body and washed it with tears only a mother could shed.

What was Mary’s reward?  She got to know Jesus best.  She got to feed Him, kiss His toes, and sing ancient Hebrew songs to Him as His beautiful eyes finally closed in sleep.  He clasped His tiny fist around her index finger and blessed her with His first smile.  His chubby arms locked around her neck and she was the first person to hear Him say, “I love you.”  The horror of His death was erased three days later when He held her in His resurrected arms.  For her willingness to be used for God’s purpose, and for her faithfulness to her task, she was rewarded by knowing Jesus more intimately than any other person.

During this season of Advent, prepare your spirit by being committed to worship and faithful to the work of the Lord so that you may know Him better.  Make your heart’s desire to serve the Lord.

Reflection:  Father – Grant that I may be willing to serve you as Mary was.  Grant that I may be faithful even when I don’t understand

Monica Boudreaux

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Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional