Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Chavaleh"- In Response to Fiddler on the Roof

Little Bird, Little Chaveleh,
I don't understand whats happening today.
Everything is all a blur.
All I can see is a happy child,
The sweet little bird you were.
Chaveleh, Chaveleh.

Little Bird, Little Chaveleh,
You were always such a pretty little thing,
Everybody's favorite child.
Gentle and kind and affectionate,
The sweet little bird you were.
Chaveleh, Chaveleh.

I'm not sure why I love this song so much, but I do. It speaks to me. Maybe I love it because it reminds me of myself. I think that Tevye and Chava were very close, and that relationship between father and daughter reminds me of myself and my father. My father has always reminded me of Tevye, since I first saw this musical and really understood it. I must have been about 10, and Tevye was a lot like my own father, so much so, that I felt I needed to identify with a daughter of his. When I saw the movie again when I was 13, I realized that I was more like Chava than I had originally thought. She is the one that loves to read, but also is incredibly smart. She is a child at heart to some degree, but she also seems way more mature than her years.

This song is sung by Tevye, and he seems to be very emotional while singing. He's upset, and rightfully so. His daughter, his "Chavaleh", abandoned tradition, and married someone not of her faith. It almost seems that Chava is Tevye's favourite of his five daughters, which may be wrong, but also makes sense. She's Tevye's  baby girl. Tevye probably feels that she is the one that is most likely to make a difference, or make something of herself, something that isn't really possible.  

I think this song definitely adds to the musical. It's not all happiness in real life, and this musical proves it. There aren't necessarily happy endings, and in Chava's case, sometimes the rest of your life may not involve those you love. She is disowned by her family, and moves away with Fyedka. This song helps to illustrate just how depressing something like that would be. This song will probably always be my favourite, and I thought I'd share it with the world.


  1. Excellent explanation of the song's significance to the play and to your personal reactions to its meaning.


  2. Chaveleh didn't just marry outside the faith. If you watch the Film Adaptation closely you will see she was actually Baptized and accepted Jesus as "King of the Jews".

    How do we know this? Because you cannot get married in the Russian Orthodox Church without first converting to Christianity and accepting Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. That's why in the movie Golde rushes into the Orthodox Church to see if it's true. She is confronted with Christianized gentile-like imagery of historical Jewish people like Jesus himself.

    Tevye sad because he knows she has converted to Christian beliefs and accepted Jesus as the Messiah and King of Jews.

    But in fact Chava and Tevye do make up at the end. Tevye accepts she is still his daughter and says "God be with you" then let's Golde give her their address details. Tevye forgives all his daughters, and Chava the most.

    1. So yeah. Not correct to say she was disowned. Tevye reluctantly fully forgives her just as they depart Anatevka, with Golde convincing him to.

      Golde, despite sticking up for tradition with the previous two daughters instead is the one now having to get Tevye forgiving Chaveleh and respecting Chava's new beliefs, because she didn't want to lose her daughter forvever.