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Het boek van het licht

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3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,834 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Het boek van het licht beschrijft de ontwikkelingen van Gershon Loran, een stille, teruggetrokken jongen. Hij wordt, direc na de oorlog, als geestelijk verzorger naar het Amerikaanse leger in Korea gezonden. Hij heeft dan net zijn opleiding tot rabbi achter de rug. Tijdens deze studie heeft hij de orthodoxie van zijn milieu achter zich gelaten en gekozen voor een studie in ...more
Paperback, 402 pages
Published 2008 by BZZTôH (first published 1981)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,865)
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Joan
Mar 27, 2008 Joan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I re-read Potok’s Book of Lights. I picked it up because Sunday I am preaching on light and I thought it would help me. The Kabballa is a major charcter, and is only one illusion of light. It is a difficult book. Much of the story centers around Arthur Leiden’s struggle because his father is one of the Jews who made the A-bomb. Much takes place in Korea. I couldn’t help but think about Charlie's distress at having worked at Oak Ridge during that time. One paragraph kept calling me back in which ...more
John
Nov 18, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful book, one of Potok's best as far as I'm concerned, and I love them all. At first the subject seems to be the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This would be a great novel even if it were only a meditation on those events, because it manages to bring in so many viewpoints, thanks to one of the main characters whose father was involved in developing the bomb and whose mother had something to do with a city that was rejected as a target. It also manages to bring in ...more
Eli
Sep 28, 2011 Eli rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane
Oct 11, 2007 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I began reading Potok as a teen, beginning The Chosen. It was like a fascinating peek into a world I had never known existed. I read this book earlier and didn't like it as much. But, I picked it up again as an adult and knowing more about Los Alamos and the history of the bombs and the people who grow up with their parents connected to the making of them provided me with a different level of connection.

I feel this book is one of his very best, different from The Chosen, and his Asher Lev's, and
...more
Lotte
Apr 07, 2008 Lotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over the years I have read several novels by Chaim Potok. I don't think I would have enjoyed this one 20 years ago - it is slow in some places and I imagine many readers would find it too slow. I found it beautifully written, exquisitely painful at times, exquisitely joyful at others. Interweaving themes based on Judaism, the study of Kabbalah, Korean War, WW II, family, Japan, the atomic bomb, penance and retribution and restitution, and family, Potok follows the lives and relationships of 2 se ...more
Roberta
Nov 18, 2015 Roberta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite Potok book so fa. I liked it much better than The Chosen, My Name Is Asher Lev, and The Promise,more than Wanderings, and even than Davita's Harp. ;I became immersed in the story, cared about the major the characters including the Kabbalah, wondered about others, accessible mysticism (it even made sections of The Zohar understandable!), history, fascinating debates and ambiguity. I kept finding quotes that I want to remember, but soon realized that I'd have to underline line ...more
Gwennyth
Feb 09, 2016 Gwennyth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Chaim Potok has hit this book out of the ballpark. "The Book of Lights"tells the story of a somewhat dull and aimless Gershon Loran, who never can quite build up enough passion for anything. In time, he is ordained a rabbi with a particular affinity for the Kabbalah.
Mr. Potok is a master at writing about Jewish life with coherence, depth and understanding. No word is wasted.
Neither will you waste your time reading this book, set to the backdrops of both The Manhattan Project and it's fallout an
...more
Christy Sawyer
Oct 24, 2012 Christy Sawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't wept over the ending of a book in a long time. Today I cried as I finished reading The Book of Lights. I ask myself why I haven't read this one before and can't answer myself. I have read and re-read Asher Lev and the Chosen many times; I've read so many Potoks that I am infused by them. Book of Lights is slightly auto-biographical and conveys to me Potok's almost didactical urgency to commit his memories of the Orient to the written word. His terse prose relentlessly pulls me through ...more
Kecia
Feb 05, 2013 Kecia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine what life would be like if your parent helped to invent the atomic bomb.

Anything Potok writes is sure to be breathtaking, but it took a good 300 pages for me to get into this one. Gershon is so emotionally unavailable that I had a hard time liking him. He wanders thru life with no passion or purpose. He simply goes thru the motions of living.

I liked the way Gershon encounters new people once he gets to Korea. While Gabriel Rosen, a fellow Jew, appalls him, his Mormon assistant gives him
...more
Elizabeth Jennings
While The Chosen is much more widely known than this book, I found that The Book of Lights has stayed with me more closely through the years and is the one I claim as a guiding force. For me, it is a book that transcends the Jewish perspective and presents a meditative/contemplative experience that people from multiple faiths can identify with. In the years since I've read the book, I've found it interesting to compare it to works from other traditions such as The Cloud of Unknowing, a Christian ...more
Erin
Jul 29, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read several books by this author and I have to say that the style was very different but still effective. There are a lot of tonal shifts that reflect Gershon's drifting thoughts. It's a much more experimental style.

The book provided insight into how the wars affected young Americans at home and then in the service. Gershon's friend is guilt-ridden by his family's involvement in developing the atomic bomb. He is consumed by his guilt, driven to obsession with Japan and the Japanese people
...more
David
In all my Jewish exploration this is my first Chaim Potok book. A housemate lent it to me and I am excited about the juxtoposition of Kabbala and Nuclear doomsday and its not even sci-fi! Thanks Cold War.

The book was clear and straight forward but dragged. The guilt of the Nuclear bombing of Japan was salient but at times seemed melodramatic and the use of light as a symbol of divinity, through Kabbala, and death, through nuclear explosion, seemed forced.

The most valuable elements were the des
...more
DJ Dycus
Jan 15, 2013 DJ Dycus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, jewish, mysticism
Have you ever been reading an author that you hold in high esteem--and you're pretty sure that you've already read his best stuff--and then he blows your mind? THAT was my pleasant experience with this novel.

I've read both Asher Levs, The Chosen, and The Promise. In terms of Potok I was pretty confident that his best work lay behind me. I also felt as if I knew what to expect from his novels. Book of Lights, however, showed me a completely different side of this literary master. In this novel Po
...more
Carri
Jun 10, 2008 Carri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like many Potok novels, the philosophical debate between the Talmud and Kabbalah underlines the action. However, in this case Gershon, our hero, has decided to follow the path of the Kabbalah "light". What I really loved about this book was the evolution of the protagonist: seeing Gershon transform from a guilty, sad, powerless young man to a leader and source of strength to those around him.

As the book moves into Korea and then Japan, we get to glimpse the Far East in the 1950's. I've never rea
...more
Jon
May 23, 2008 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my fourth Potok and he remains a favorite, to be sure. This book didn't disappoint, but unlike the other novels I've read, I probably won't read it again. If I could, I'd actually give it 3.5 stars.

This book deals with war--but (again) unlike the other books I've read and reported on here, it doesn't mix it with religion as a paradox like the Lev books did with art and Davita's Harp did with politics. Instead we get a book about the ethics of Atomic war from the perspective of those who
...more
Sara
Jan 20, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes when you run out of things to read, you can go back through all the books you really like and pick up the other books the authors wrote. I did that with Chiam Potok’s books and was delighted with The Book of Lights.
The story is an interweaving of two men and the way that greatness touches on both of their lives. On one student the greatness exists as an external source, he is surrounded by it. He is handsome, wealthy, intelligent, confident, a lightweight Jew; he carries the DNA and fu
...more
Sarah
Nov 10, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I wrote rigth after I read it: This book seems dark, perhaps darker than any of his others. It's about physics and kabbalah, so it's science and mystecism adn the world torn apart. He carried me along and made me ache and rejoice and ache again.
Karen
I have loved other novels by Chaim Potok, but this novel I am having a difficult time with. It moves very slow and the protagonist is almost characterless. Should I keep trying?
Csferguson222
This is a long and frankly boring story that goes far deeper into a pointless plot than I wanted to go. You keep expecting something to happen, and it never does.
Katie
Jan 03, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, as per the norm, shows why Chaim Potok is a master of his craft. He threads his prose into such incredible tapestries of sight and sound and feeling. His characters deal with religious issues that on the one hand are so specific to the Jewish faith that it gives you an intimate feel for their faith, while on the other hand dealing with religious issues so broad that all who read his books, regardless of faith, can connect and understand and feel with the characters.

Potok also deals w
...more
Don (The Book Guy)
For me this has been one of the more thought provoking books I’ve read recently. Potok chronicles the life of Gershon from his days as a student studying Talmud and Kaballah, to his experiences as a Jewish chaplain in Korea to his brief return home before moving on to spend time with a former teacher in Jerusalem. The book takes you into the world of Jewish scholarship and especially the mystical tradition based on the study of Kaballah. You also see how a Jewish friend the son of a man who deve ...more
Lauren
Feb 02, 2016 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The content was different than Potok's other books that I have read, but no less enjoyable. He writes with such a deep emotion, and I love his characters. I liked Gershon's Kabbalistic studies and how they coincided with the images of light throughout the book. I think this book was spurred by many of Potok's own experiences as a war chaplain in Korea.

I am glad I was able to read it... anything by Potok is beautiful!
Sue
May 02, 2015 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, usa, jewish, japan, korea
Gershon Loran and Arther Leiden are rabbinical students and roommates. Each wrestles with his own demons along with his studies. For Gershon, it is the abandonment issues by family. For Arther, it is his relationship with his father who was part of the team that developed the atomic bomb. A declaration is made that all rabbinical students must serve in the US military for two years following graduation. This is set in the years of and just after the Korean War. Gershon finds himself posted to K ...more
Ryan
Feb 14, 2014 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this novel, which is a less familiar text of Chaim Potok, because of the quality of the writing and the themes Potok so delicately explores. I find the way he demonstrates the conflicts between tradition, such as religious tradition (Judaism), and modernity enlightening and compelling. This particular narrative follow the experience of a Jewish chaplain in the Korean War, and the nature of his Jewish faith as he shows a keen aptitude for Jewish mysticism. The writing can on cer ...more
Jitse
Oct 27, 2015 Jitse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great melancholic easy read - even in translation. The book plays with different forms/shapes of light and darkness. It shows the need for meaning, our doubts, evil and thematically that's an amazing interplay. The take-away of the book is, though somewhat doubtedly, that you gotta keep going with what you believe, even in muddy waters.
Carol
Ponderous and philosophical. I guess it wasn't the right time for me to read something so heavy. I suppose that war and the atomic bomb is a heavy subject, but.... I did learn some about Jewish philosophy and Kabalah.
Jill Holmes
Sep 21, 2012 Jill Holmes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chaim Potok may well write the best books I've ever read. He has the capacity of creating a world and filling it with detail but also of probing deeply into the human heart. His characters feel alive. Their thoughts are profound, moving, changing, and growing. Their hearts are huge, empathetic, yet aware of their shortcomings. Religion and politics form firm foundations in their lives but do not disrupt their personal and emotional growth. One comes away with the feeling that any other character ...more
Patrice
May 15, 2011 Patrice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Potok never ceases to amaze me. When I finish one of his books I'm always left speechless, with a ridiculous grin on my face. This one is certainly one of his more insightful and provocative- there were moments where his rhetoric tended toward broader, perhaps overly-romanticized statements-- but I don't care because I love him, and he can't do any wrong in my eyes. My favorite quote:

[Truth said]: "Why do you shield your eyes behind your hands? Is my darkness too keen, too bright?...There is so
...more
Lesley
Mar 29, 2014 Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book (and several other Potok works) in college after taking an Old Testament class, and really enjoyed this because of my History/Religion double major.
Melissa Mann
Dec 15, 2008 Melissa Mann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My grandfather fought in the Pacific theater in WWII, and we never cease to have respectful disagreements on a regular basis about the ethics and justifications of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki... hence, my interest in this book. Potok teases our collective bipolarity concerning this historic weight out of the dialogue between the two main characters (Gershon and Arthur). The philosophical heaviness of the bomb and how the characters wrestled earthly and cosmic emotional fallout is why I ...more
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American author and rabbi. Herman Harold Potok was born in the Bronx to Jewish immigrants from Poland.

His parents, Benjamin Max (d. 1958) and Mollie (Friedman) Potok (d. 1985), gave him a Hebrew name, Chaim Tzvi. His Orthodox education taught him Talmud as well as secular studies.

He decided to become a writer as a teenager, after reading Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
More about Chaim Potok...

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“I won't talk to you about my family and you won't talk to me about yours. Family talk is either boring or self-pitying. Or it's Gothic, like a Faulkner novel. Who needs to talk about it? It's enough to live it.” 7 likes
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