Fiddler on the Roof is probably my favorite musical. It’s not because it is the best musical ever produced, but because I’ve learned so much from it. Fiddler was perhaps my first introduction to traditional Jewish culture. Although the setting is in early 20th century Russia, many of the customs portrayed in the musical date to ancient times. I was reminded of Fiddler as I wrote a blog on Bible Study: putting things in context.
I have the DVD, but just wanted to hear some of the songs. I thought you might enjoy some of them as well. So, here’s a medley of songs from Fiddler on the Roof with a brief explanation of how things fit in to traditional Jewish culture:
Arranged marriage was a long-standing tradition in Jewish culture. The Yenta was the matchmaker. Joseph and Mary’s marriage was arranged. That tradition is pretty much history now, but here are the wishes of a young bride to be:
In Genesis 2 God established the covenant of marriage. He did not base it on the romantic concept many have when entering into marriage today, but He did anticipate love in marriage as He did in all human relationships. Here, Tevye and Golde discuss love for the first time after 25 years of marriage:
Did you see how two have become one?
Dreams and visions have long-held an important place in Jewish culture. Here, Tevye uses this to the advantage of his daughter in a changing world:
The Hebrews and Jews have long faced persecution. Often it has resulted in captivity, exile or dispersion. Just as it occurred in ancient Israel and Judah, it happened in 20th century Russia:
Traditions exist in all cultures. Sometimes we don’t even know how traditions got started. Here Tevye sings about the centrality of tradition to Jewish culture:
OK, this has been one long blog if you’ve listened to all the music. If you’ve never seen Fiddler on the Roof or want to see it again, it’s well worth the DVD rental.
Alive in The Word