Last Friday evening I went to see an amateur production of “Fiddler on the Roof”.
I was drawn to the theme of the importance of tradition, particularly within religious communities.
The daughters of Tevye (a hard working, but poor Jewish milkman), in their turn seem to spurn the tradition within the community that it is the matchmaker who arranges a marriage, and the father who accepts the arrangement.
His first daughter, has secretly planned to marry a tailor and pleads with her father to retract his promise for her to marry the butcher. Tevye loves his daughter and compromises his view of tradition to accept his daughters plea.
His second daughter falls in love with a revolutionary, and he tells Tevye that they are to be married. Tevye loves his daughter and compromises his view of tradition and gives his permission for the marriage despite not having being asked for it.
His third daughter falls in love with an Orthodox Christian and this situation creates such conflict with his view of tradition, that Tevye cannot accept it, however, as the family prepare to leave their village, forced out by ethnic hatred, he utters a blessing “God be with you” to his estranged daughter.
I was moved by the conflict which tradition can bring between the generations and particularly moved by the example of this poor faithful man to put love above tradition.
The choices which my own adult children have made, have come at a price which for a long time, I could not accept, but which I have learned through coaching and quiet reflection and prayer to accept.
My mother said to me when she heard that my daughter had chosen to live with a man rather than to marry what I thought of the situation – in other words, what was I going to do about it?
I turned to her and I told her “I am going to accept it, because to reject it would be to risk alienating my relationship with my daughter and drive a wedge between us.
So, Tevye, like me respects tradition, but is prepared to put love above all else.
My next blog will be : Hymn Book