The seven girls took alarm.
“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”
“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”
The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.
Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.
By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa