THROUGH THE GOLDEN DOOR
A Tale of Three Cities
by Joshua M. Sklare
I took the family history and crafted a “story” that attempts to capture something of both the characters and the times in which they lived. The story takes place on three continents and passes through three generations.
The first time that Abraham had heard the name America was from his grandfather. Yisroel Yehudah had repeated a famous story from a prominent scholar from the days of Reb Chaim in the early 1800s. Reb Chaim spoke during Shaloh Scheudes (the third meal of the Sabbath day) about the different exiles. During the first one, the Jews went to Babylonia; during the second, to Spain; during the third, to Western and Eastern Europe; the fourth, yet to take place, would be on the North American Continent. Then the great rabbi began to cry. Later his son, Reb Itzel, asked him why he had cried. Reb Chaim said that it would be a very rough exile, and many would be lost. And here was Abraham Sklar about to make the trip. What would his grandfather say?
Abraham had been married several years and thought that he got one of the great prizes in Taube Gruzd. Before he had met her, she was being pursued by other young men, some who were well off, some who were scholars. But when she first set her eyes on Abraham, she knew she had found a husband. True, he was tall, broad-shouldered, with a handsome face. He had a prominent forehead, and his hair was showing a spattering of white. It had proven to be a selling point when he met Taube. Her father, Chatzkell, reminded her that white hair is a sign of wisdom. Chatzkell Gruzd mentioned the famous piece in the Talmud about Rabbi Eleazar Ben Azariah and the eighteen strands of white hair that miraculously appeared.