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The Fiddler on Ukraine's Roof
דו קענסט נישט אויסשפייען דיין נשמה.
Ending Russia’s war against Ukraine is complicated by the inadequacy of formal equality, competing narratives (conquest of territory vs. war against civilization) and differing approaches to justice when addressing crimes committed using state power, including lots of indiscriminate killing.
In the words of a Ukrainian author of non-Ukrainian descent, ‘You can’t spit out your soul,’ [46:20] c/o practicing Russian philosopher in exile Vladimir Pastukhov, who made the reference on December 16, 2021, commenting on the Russia-Ukraine mess for Echo Moscow.
“You can’t spit out your soul” (“Душу не выплюнешь”) is conspicuously missing from Echo Moscow’s official transcript of the broadcast. The line indeed belongs to Solomon Rabinovich (pseudonym Sholem Aleichem, a Yiddish variant of the Hebrew expression shalom aleichem, meaning "peace be with you"), taken from his last book, titled Motl, Peysi the Cantor's Son, subtitled The Writings of an Orphan Boy (מאָטל פּייסי דעם חזנס; כתבֿים פֿון אַ ייִנגל אַ יתום — motl peysi dem khazns; ksovim fun a yingl a yosem).
Aleichem is most famous for Fiddler on the Roof, his tale about a village milkman who goes nuts when his three strong-willed daughters fall in love. He grew up in Pereislav in the 1870s and eventually made his way to Queens, New York City, where in 1916 he died a horrible death. His funeral was one of the biggest ever.