Waiting for the Messiah: A Jewish-Buddhist Reflection on Fiddler on the Roof

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Waiting for the Messiah: A Jewish-Buddhist Reflection on Fiddler on the Roof

Richard Oxenberg

Quote:So begins the story of Tevya and his three daughters, immortalized in the popular Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Upon hearing this first speech by Tevya one might well receive the impression that the show is an ode to the importance of tradition as a way of life. But actually the show dramatizes the breakdown of one tradition after another. The fragility and evanescence of tradition is the show’s theme. This evanescence is not in itself a bad thing. Traditions must shift, grow, and adapt to changing developments, sensibilities, and circumstances. The fluidity of life
itself demands this. It turns out that rigid adherence to tradition is not what keeps the fiddler balanced on the roof.

What then?

Quote:“Rabbi, we have been waiting for the Messiah all our lives! Wouldn’t this be a good time for him to come?” The Rabbi responds simply: “We will have to wait for him. . . someplace else.”

Just what it may mean to “wait for the Messiah” – and why it is ever necessary to be able to wait for him “someplace else” – this is the topic of my little essay.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

(This post was last modified: 2023-06-13, 07:25 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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