Topol’s Tevye is not a man “desperately clinging to Tradition” (as one critic described with another actor in the role). More than anyone else in Anatevka, Topol’s Tevye is genuinely interested in new people with new ideas. No one forces him to invite Perchik-the-Student into his house. He opens his door willingly.
“He’s a little crazy,” Tevye tells his wife Golde, even after learning that Perchik–who has no income and no prospects–still wants to marry his second daughter Hodel, “but I like him.” To echo Liberman, Topol’s Tevye is a mensch, “and every Jew in the audience will know what that means.”