The Chosen Essay Research Paper The Chosen

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The Chosen Essay, Research Paper The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, is a moving story of two brilliant friends who belonged to different Jewish sects. Reuven, who tells the story, was the obedient loving son of David Malter, or Abba. Abba was a high school teacher in a yeshiva, or Jewish parochial school, which taught more English than other sects. Danny was the son chosen to succeed his father, a Rabbi of an orthodox hasidic sect that had kept old customs for six generations. There was contention, jealousy, and unspoken admiration for intellectual abilities among the exceptional students of Talmud in both sects. “Virtuosity in Talmud was the achievement most sought after by every student of a yeshiva, for it was the automatic guarantee of a reputation for brilliance.” As a

Hasidik Jew, Danny felt a moral and ethical inherited position. Danny said, “A dynasty would fall apart without that kind of succession.” Yet, he wondered how he could please his father, god, and society by not following this chosen path and still pursue forbidden scientific studies. Danny Saunders was brilliant. He had a photographic memory. His analytical mind caused him to study German philosophy and experimental psychology. Danny was miserable in his study because he felt guilty for betraying his father. Danny was raised in complete silence. The only time he and his father ever talked was when they studied the Talmud. Danny and Reuven became friends right as Danny desperately needed someone to talk to. Abba told Reuven, “You have a brilliant mind, but Danny is a

phenomenon. Once in a generation is a man like that born. He is a terribly torn and lonely boy. There is literally no one in the world he can talk to. He needs a friend.” It was a baseball game that brought them together. Their friendship started at the suggestion of abba who felt, “a person should do two things for himself. One is to acquire a teacher and the other is to choose a friend. Make him your friend and let him make you his friend.” Danny’s father approved of the friendship even though abba had Zionistic beliefs, which were described by the Hasidic sect as “apikorsim”, meaning contaminated men. As true friends, Reuven was troubled over Danny’s mind and heart. “Two people who are true friends are like two bodies with one soul.” Abba wisely said,

“Honest differences of opinion should never be permitted to destroy friendship.” “My father believes in silence,” said Danny. “When I was ten or eleven years old, I complained to him about something, and he told me to close my mouth and look into my soul. He told me to stop running to him every time I had a problem. I should look into my own soul for the answer.” Abba said, “Reuven, he has already talked to Danny about it. He has talked to Danny through you.” That was abba’s explanation of the strange silence between Reb Saunders and his son. Later, Reb apologized to Danny through Reuven saying, “Forgive me for everything I have done. A wiser father may have done differently. I am not wise.” Then he added, “Today my Daniel is free.” As Danny cried,

Reuven went over to him and put his hand on his shoulder, and said, “And then I was crying too, crying with Danny, silently, for his pain and for the years of his suffering, knowing that I loved him, and not knowing whether I hated or loved the long, anguished years of his life.” In talking to Reuven about the way Danny was raised, abba explained that he didn’t have to raise Reuven that way. “I am not a tzaddik.” Abba helped Reuven understand Danny’s tremendous conflicts. He did not approve of Reb’s methods to make Danny find his own soul. Reuven was blessed to have a father who listened, weighed evidence fairly, and extended love with patience and forgiveness. Finally, Reb Saunders accepted his son’s intention to study psychology and gave him his blessing. Reuven