The Chosen

.. because he does not want to be like his father. With no one to learn from Danny turns to books by Freud and this may influence his way of thinking and further upset his father. Chapter Eleven 21. I saw only emptiness and fear and a kind of sudden, total end to the things that I had never experienced before.

(p. 179) Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States, has just died and it has filled Reuven with immense grief. He does not fully understand why he is sad but only knows that a great man has died. Along with Judaism Reuvens home country is very important to him and Roosevelts death is very upsetting to Reuven. The president was probably a role model to Reuven especially now that he is becoming interested in politics and other leadership roles.

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22. “How the world drinks our blood,” Reb Saunders said. “How the world makes makes us suffer. It is the will of God. We must accept the will of God.” (p.

181) Reb Saunders is personally hurt by the horrible massacre of six million Jews in the Nazis concentration camps. These people were Rebs followers, and some even his friends. The genocide of this many people has affected the entire world and the remaining Jews including Reuven and Dannys father are very disturbed by these events. Chapter Twelve 23. “I was really concerned about his health because all along Ive wanted him to be able to take my fathers place.” (p.190) Through reading Freud Danny has figured out that he does not want to take his fathers place as a tzaddik. Danny feels that deep in his subconscious he wants his little brother to take his place and that is why he has always been concerned with his health; not because he cares for him, but for selfish reasons.

Danny has found his way out of being a rabbi and this gives him hope for his future. 24. “Ill want you around on that day, friend. Ill need you around on that day.” (p. 191) Danny knows that he does not want to take his fathers place and become a rabbi but the hardest part will be telling his father this. Danny seeks comfort in Reuven and asks for his help in confronting his father; both boys are greatly intimidated by the powerful Reb Saunders. During a time when both boys fathers are not there to help them they confide in each other for strength.

Chapter Thirteen 25. ” I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man that lives that span, he is something.” (p.

204) Mr. Malter is teaching Reuven an important lesson about controlling his own destiny. Not only should Reuven not stand idle and do something with the gift of life that was given to him but he should also try to impress this idea on others. This is the key factor in Mr. Malters way of thinking and the main reason why he puts himself through the torture of teaching and helping others before he even takes care of himself.

26. Danny was not to see me, talk to me, listen to me, be found within four feet of me. My father and I had been excommunicated from the Saunders family. (p. 217) Reuven and Dannys friendship seems to have come to an end.

Reb Saunders will not allow his son to be with Reuven because of their Zionists views. Mr. Saunders thinks that Reuven will influence Danny in a negative way and as punishment for remaining friends Danny has been threatened with being sent to an out of town yeshiva where he will only be able to study to be a rabbi. What the two boys struggled through, not caring what others thought of them, seems impossible now with Mr. Saunders unyielding views toward the Zionist beliefs of the Malter family. Chapter Fourteen 27.

And now it was also I and not only Reb Saunders who was able to listen to Dannys voice only through a Talmudic disputation. (p. 225) Now that Reuven is not allowed to talk with Danny it is only during the Talmudic sessions in class that Reuven gets to hear his voice. Reuven points out that this is the same relationship between Mr. Saunders and his son and that they only talk to each other while discussing Talmud.

A sad fact because now Danny has no one to talk to and he goes through his days in silence. 28. I worked carefully and methodically, using everything my father taught me And a lot of things I was now able to teach myself. (p. 229) Dannys father has done an exceptional job in raising his son and this is most evident when the father cannot be there.

The main job of a parent is to work themselves out of a job and now that Mr. Malter has had a heart attack Reuven must take care and teach himself and he does a wonderful job of it, impressing his teacher and classmates. Reuven really misses his father but it is a testament to the hard work of Mr. Malter that his son can now succeed on his own. Chapter Fifteen 29.

He had worked so hard for a Jewish state, and that very work now kept him from seeing it. (p. 240) Ever since news came of the slaughter of six million Jews during WWII it has been Mr. Malters personal mission to make it possible for his people to have a country of their own, a Jewish state. He rarely slept and this greatly worsened his health and probably was the reason for his second heart attack.

Now with the struggle of recuperating from the heart attack he is not strong enough to make a trip to Palestine and see the place for which he worked so hard to make a reality. 30. Reb Saunders anti-Zionist league died that day as far as the students in Hirsch Collage were concerned. It remained alive outside of school, but I never again saw an anti-Zionist leaflet inside the school building. (p. 241) With the death of a graduate from Hirsch Collage as a result of the fighting in Palestine the students and faculty of that school now have a close connection with the fighting for a Jewish homeland.

Anti-Zionists who once had a stronghold on some students are now nowhere to be seen in the school for fear of retaliation from people who knew the student well. It took the death of another Jew to give the Zionists and the anti-Zionists of the school a reason to stop the conflicts between people of the same religion. Chapter Sixteen 31. I felt a little shiver hearing his voice.. “The ban has been lifted.” He said simply. (p.

243) Mr. Saunders will now allow his son to see Reuven. The two friends never wanted to be apart and it was a trying time for their friendship. This was the first time the two had spoken to each other in months and the meeting was filled with relief and joy. 32.

He had expected it, he said. The Jewish state was not an issue anymore but a fact. How long would Reb Saunders have continued his band over a dead issue? (p. 244) Mr. Malter is talking to Reuven about the two boys now being allowed to be friends again. He is happy but not surprised because the differences in religious beliefs that first separated the families is a non-existent conflict anymore.

Mr. Malters desire to have a Jewish state has now become a reality and there is nothing Reb Saunders can do about it so he maturely admits his “defeat” and allows the two boys to be friends again. Chapter Seventeen 33. Danny called me during supper as soon as the ambulance pulled away from in front of his house, and I could tell from his voice that he was in panic. (p. 251) Levi Saunders, Dannys little brother, is very ill and must be rushed to the hospital. This is extremely important to Danny because he is counting on his brother to take over the role of heir to the tzaddik throne once Danny tells his father that he is not going to be a rabbi.

To Danny this is much more important than even losing a family member and Reuven understands this when Danny calls. 34. “You will go on Passover. He has a reason if he asked you to come especially on Passover. And listen next time when someone speaks to you, Reuven.” (p. 258) Mr.

Malter is scolding Reuven for not paying attention to Mr. Saunders indirect invitation to talk about Danny. Reuven is still angry with Reb Saunders and he did not want to spend his Shabbat talking to him about Talmud but he failed to realize that Mr. Saunders wanted to talk to Reuven about his son. What Mr.

Malter is actually telling Reuven is that when someone says something he should not always take it as literally as it sounds. He also wants Reuven to forget about the past with Mr. Saunders and give him another chance. Chapter Eighteen 35. “My father himself never talked to me, except when we studied together.

He taught me with silence.” (p. 265) Danny Saunders grandfather also taught Reb Saunders with silence. This tradition was passed down from generation to generation but Danny rebels against it and decides that this type of future is not for him. In a very emotional discussion father and son discuss Dannys future as a psychologist and not a tzaddik. 36. “But he learned to find the answers for himself.

He suffered and learned to listen to the suffering of others. In the silence between us he began to hear the world crying.” (p. 267) Reb Saunders finally tells Danny the reason why they do not talk to each other; he wanted Danny to hear the suffering of the world through the silence between father and son. This is the Saunders family way of teaching a boy to grow up and become a tzaddik, silence. It is ironic how Reb Saunders stressed the importance of silence for Dannys personal growth toward becoming a leader but it is partly because of the silence between him and his father that he does not want to become a tzaddik at all.


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