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304 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published January 1, 1966
I have no choice. It's like a dynasty & if the son doesn't take his father's place, the dynasty falls apart. My family has been our Hasidic people's rabbi for 6 generations & I can't just walk out on them now. I'm a little trapped. Danny turned away from the window & began to play with his earlock (braided hair), caressing it & twirling it with his index finger.Throughout the novel, Reuven's father is a source of consolation & guidance for his son, while Danny's father is marked by rigidity, only willing to speak with his son about the Talmud. Nevertheless, the two boys continue to share confidences & to support each other, at least until they are midway through a Brooklyn rabbinic college that also allows courses in science, with the Talmud studied from 9 until 3 & the afternoon devoted to "secular" courses.
Then he shook his head & declared that the world was a crazy place because while Reuven doesn't have to be a rabbi but wants to be one, Danny has to become a rabbi but doesn't want to be one.
There's more truth in this than you realize. You must learn to listen to silence, Reuven. I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence & learn from it. It has a quality & a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks & has a strange, beautiful texture. Sometimes it cries & you can hear the pain of the world in it. It hurts to listen to it then. But you have to.I won't in any way reveal how The Chosen concludes but Chaim Potok's deeply expressive & highly recommended novel points to the importance of tradition but also the need for children to be allowed to create their own narratives in life, sometimes quite at odds with the ones their parents envision, a very American book but one with qualities that seem universal.