Thirty-five years ago, Avner Gold‘s The Promised Child burst onto the Jewish literary scene and became an instant classic, a beloved favorite of young readers and adults alike. It was translated into Hebrew, Spanish, French and Russian, and it established itself as a standard on the preferred reading lists of parents and educators. The book has been out of print for many years, and now, Avner Gold has rewritten it for this new edition. It is twice as long as the original, and more than twice as good.
The new story begins in 1592 when Rav Shloime Strasbourg is taking his son Mendel for his bar-mitzvah to the Maharal of Prague. While traveling through a snowy forest, they find a wounded cavalry captain half-frozen to death. The dramatic rescue sets into motion a chain of events that leads to vengeance, arson, betrayal, abduction and heartbreak. Mendel grows up to be a prominent rabbi in the Polish city of Pulichev, but he and his wife live in the gloomy shadow of the tragedy that has befallen them.
The book reaches its breathtaking climax when the rabbi of Krakow is challenged to debate the Bishop of Lubianewicz in a highly-publicized spectacle. Should he lose, the Jewish community will be expelled. Rav Mendel Strasbourg is invited to defend the Jewish position. The prospects of success seem bleak. But a combination of many threads from the painful past results in a stunning turnaround and the ultimate deliverance of the Jewish community from its enemies.
The Promised Child is rich in Torah values and historical background, offering glimpses of the Maharal, the Maharsha, the Tosefos Yom Tov and the conditions of Jewish life in Poland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is a book that enriches even as it entertains.
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