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"AND""OR"

The Chosen
By Chaim Potok "I have to take my father's place. I have no choice. It's an inherited position. I'll work it out-somehow. It won't be so bad, being a rabbi". "Are you going to like being a rabbi?" "No,' he said". "How can you spend your life doing what you don't like?" This is the fundamental issue that confronts Daniel Saunders. Should he take over his father's position and become a tzadik, or should he do what he wants and become a psychologist? The position of the tzadik is inherited. It is a position that has been in Danny Sauders' family for many generations. Danny grew up knowing that he must become a tzadik. However, he is a genius and can't help but wonder what the secular world has to offer. Danny has secretly been reading books by Darwin, Freud and many other secular authors. Reb Saunders, Danny's father, believes that the outside world is polluted and that man's goal in life is to serve g-d through Torah. Danny's father is an extremist. He even says, "The world kills us! The world flays our skin from our bodies and throws us to the flames! The world laughs at Torah! And if it does not kill us, it tempts us! It misleads us! It contaminates us!" This is what Danny was taught as he was growing up. As Danny matures, he becomes more and more fascinated with the outside world. He starts to study psychology at a rapid pace. Each day he goes to the library and devours books. He enjoys the intellectual challenge of learning about the human mind. When Danny first started to study Talmud, he found it rather difficult. But now it has become too easy for him. "I get bored studying just Talmud. And the English work in my school isn't too exciting........But it's exciting being able to read all those books". Daniel has made his decision. He wishes to become a psychologist. Danny has a major problem relating to the world. He must conduct his pursuit of the secular world in secret and in silence. This silence parallels the silence between his father and him. His father never speaks to Danny unless it has to do with the studying of Torah. Danny is very afraid that his father might discover his secret life. However deep inside he knows that eventually his father will catch on and Danny dreads that day. Most children grow up trying to please their father. As a child gets older he realizes that this is not always possible. Sons are not clones of their fathers. Their desires and beliefs are often different. It is sometimes necessary to live together and resolve their differences. As a consequence of the silence in Reb Saunder's and Daniel's relationship, Danny is certain that once his father becomes aware of Danny's secret life, they will no longer be able to live together. Reb Saunders constantly dreams about Danny's future as a tzadik and his silence is part of the preparation for this future. Reb Saunders wants Danny to become a tzadik and Danny knows this. One consequence of this, is that Danny is in constant pain. He does not wish to disappoint his father but he also understands that he will, and that it is only a matter of time until it happens. Danny continues this status quo for many years,however, eventually Reb Saunders begins to act in a strange fashion. He constantly appears to be upset and in severe anguish. Daniel understands that the fearful day has finally arrived, and his father now speaks to him with Reuven, Danny's closest friend, as intermediary. Reb Saunders says that he knew that Daniel would leave for the secular world. He says that he can not stop him, but that he hopes that entrance into the modern world would not force Daniel to leave the world of the Torah. Daniel tells Reb Saunders that he is determined to combine both worlds, and conduct his life in a manner that would both fulfil his need for secular fulfillment and Reb Saunders' desire for piety. This is the message that Chaim Potok wishes to convey.

"For complete summary and analysis of literary works, please visit NovelGuide.com

 



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