I saw a folded piece of paper on the chair I had occupied earlier. I stopped and picked it up and unfolded it. It was a pencil drawing, a photographic likeness of my face made with an exquisite economy of line and without light and shade. The lower right-hand corner of the drawing contained a signature: Jacob Kahn. Below the signature was the date: 1–10–56.
This event takes place in Chapter 7, immediately after Asher has had his pre-Bar Mitzvah meeting with the Rebbe. Asher returns to the waiting room and discovers this drawing. A new world begins to open before his eyes. The date, 1–10–56, and the form in which it is written are indelibly burned in his memory. The date is significant as it is the secular date, as it represents Asher's first real interaction with the secular world. This even marks a turning point in Asher's life. Kahn introduces himself to Asher and arranges to begin teaching him. This marks the end of Asher's days as a directionless amateur and the beginning of his development into an artistic genius.