Fiddler on the roof is one of my Mother’s records that I played the most as a child. I loved the music and was totally enthralled by the song Matchmaker and the idea of someone choosing your husband for you and that he could be old or fat or mean.

The musical production of Fiddler on the roof is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Dairyman) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, a poor milkman and the father of five daughters, and is set in the small village of Anatevka in Eastern Europe. The central theme of the story is Tevye’s struggle to protect his daughters and maintain a traditional Jewish household during a time of increasing social change and growing antisemitism in Czarish Russia.

I learned a lot about Jewish tradition through listening to this musical. I found out about the prayer shawl that is worn by Jewish men and the fact that they always keep their heads covered. I also learned what the word “kosher” meant and who a Rabbi is. I have always been fascinated by different religions and I think that my enjoyment of this wonderful musical may have fueled this interest. I have subsequently attended a hair cutting ceremony and  two Bar Mitzvah’s. I enjoyed these experiences a great deal.

Matchmaker is still my favourite song form this record [I still have the original record I listed to all those years ago].

Well, somebody has to arrange the matches,
She might bring someone wonderful—-
Someone interesting—-
And well off—-
And important—
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
I’ll bring the veil,
You bring the groom,
Slender and pale.
Bring me a ring for I’m longing to be,
The envy of all I see.
For Papa,
Make him a scholar.
For mama,
Make him rich as a king.
Chava and Hodel:
For me, well,
I wouldn’t holler
If he were as handsome as anything.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
Catch me a catch,
Night after night in the dark I’m alone
So find me match,
Of my own.
Since when are you in a match, Chava? I thought you just had your eye on your books.
(Hodel chuckles)
Tzeitel con’t:
And you have your eye on the Rabbi’s son.
Well, why not?
We only have one Rabbi and he only has one son.
Why shouldn’t I want the best?
Because you’re a girl from a poor family.
So whatever Yenta brings, you’ll take, right?
Of course right!
(throws scarf over her head, imitating Yenta)
Hodel, oh Hodel,
Have I made a match for you!
He’s handsome, he’s young!
Alright, he’s 62.
But he’s a nice man, a good catch, true?
I promise you’ll be happy,
And even if you’re not,
There’s more to life than that—
Don’t ask me what.
Chava, I found him.
Won’t you be a lucky bride!
He’s handsome, he’s tall,
That is from side to side.
But he’s a nice man, a good catch, right?
You heard he has a temper.
He’ll beat you every night,
But only when he’s sober,
So you’ll be alright.
Did you think you’d get a prince?
Well I’ll find the best I can.
With no dowry, no money, no family background
Be glad you got a man!
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
You know that I’m
Still very young.
Please, take your time.
Up to this minute,
I misunderstood
That I could get stuck for good.
Chava and Hodel:
Dear Yente,
See that he’s gentle
You were also a bride.
It’s not that
I’m sentimental
Chava and Hodel and Tzeitel:
It’s just that I’m terrified!
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Plan me no plans
I’m in no rush
Maybe I’ve learned
Playing with matches
A girl can get burned
Bring me no ring
Groom me no groom
Find me no find
Catch me no catch
Unless he’s a matchless match.
Interesting, isn’t it?