In Tevye the Dairyman, God is just one more person to argue with. And it's also the source of Tevye's most long-lasting and emotional relationship—full of ongoing conversations, deep philosophical contemplation, and even some psychological healing. On the other hand, Tevye is also really into looking like a deeply devout man, impressing everyone with his knowledge of the Torah and the Talmud and cramming as many of his own interpretations of scripture down the throats of everyone he meets as possible. So, which is it? Is religion something you put on with your Sunday (er, Saturday) clothes, or is it something much more essential?
Tevye depicts its protagonist as a modern-day Job, with the oppressive tsarist regime in early 20th-century Russia playing the part of Satan.
Sholem Aleichem suggests that Tevye's disbelief in free will leads to most of the book's catastrophes.