Several weeks ago, I ordered a book written by the famous author and storyteller, Sholom Aleichem. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, think of Fiddler on the Roof and you are in the right space. The book that I acquired was a collection of Aleichem’s stories that were expansions of the Fiddler tale and it is filled with wisdom, suggestions and quite a bit more.
As you might expect, the stories center around Tevye, the central and arguably most memorable character in the famous play and movie. But Tevye is a man worth knowing for many reasons. He is forthright about being of humble means – he works hard for a living and often worries about his finances. This status is likely exacerbated by the fact that he describes his wife as not very smart and they share seven daughters.
Here’s what I value most about Tevye, other than his unabashed and unending dedication to his wife and family. Tevye believes that a man is incapable of being believed unless he liberally quotes the Torah (the Bible or Old Testament), the Talmud (explanatory/descriptive commentaries on the Bible) and Rashi, a well-known and highly respected French Biblical scholar.
My best guess is that most of us don’t use these as resources for the majority of work that we create, share or publish. But there is a message that I truly appreciate. If you are going to make a statement or take a position, make certain that your sources/resources are entirely credible and legitimate. Although you may never use religious texts as sources for your work, Tevye doesn’t think that you can do any better.
Life was quite a bit simpler in Tevye’s time, as he drove his horse and wagon to town to sell his milk, cheese and eggs. But the logic is impeccable and irrefutable. If I am receiving my guidelines from God, I cannot imagine anyone who would be so bold as to doubt my credentials. Shalom.