Fiddler on the Temple
We’re watching “Fiddler on the Roof” around the dinner table at our house right now. I grew up listening to the soundtrack to this film, and it’s nearly impossible for me to watch without singing along with Tevye, as he intones, “Tradition! Tradition!”
The power of this musical is that Tevye is an incredibly compassionate spouse and father who wants the best for his daughters, his family, and his community. However, as his daughters each make their own decisions to marry non-traditionally and as the family is forced out of their homeland, Tevye has to come to terms with a world where his “traditions” no longer hold.
I see myself in Tevye, in Tzeitel, in Chavah. I look into my children’s eyes and wonder what paths their lives will take that will be like those of Tevye’s daughters. The words of “Sunrise, Sunset” have always moved me (I used to love to play this on the piano and sing along). I find myself thinking of how my own babies are becoming teens and will soon be adults. I feel bittersweet joy in their transition to a new season of their lives.
Do you see parallels between your life choices and those of the characters in “Fiddler on the Roof?” Can you imagine a “Fiddler on the Temple” whose job is to remind us all to cling to the traditions of our fathers? If so, what do you think a Mormon version of this musical would be like?