A couple weeks ago I went to an excellent production of Fiddler on the Roof, one of my favorite musicals. John Preece was Tevye and he was AMAZING. I was seated in the front row (a friend picked the tickets) and Preece's expressions and emotions were mesmerizing. (I can't find any videos that show Preece, but you can hear him here.)
Her characterization of Tevye was of a man who prayed without ceasing, in continuous give and take conversation with God. His wrestling and faith were evident in each sideways glance, tap of a mezuzah or fidget with his tzitzit.
One of the scenes that has stuck with me is the song "If I were a Rich Man". Preece ambled around the stage and it was as though each new verse struck him as an epiphany. My wife could have servants! I would be respected! We could live in a bigger, better house!
Then the last verse came very poignantly and I heard it in a way I've never heard before. "If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack to sit in the synagogue and pray. Maybe have a seat by the eastern wall. I'd sit and study the holy books with the learned men- seven hours every day! And that would be the sweetest thing of all."
Preece's eyes teared up and he clasped his hands to his chest and you knew he meant it. This wasn't a promise to get something from God, but his fervent hope that he could have enough wealth to have free time to pray and study scripture.
Would I do that? Would you?