The ChosenUna bella e contrastata storia di amicizia quella fra Danny Saunders e Reuven Malter, ebrei quindicenni di Brooklyn, l uno chassidim gli ultra ortodossi , l altro di una comunit non ortodossa, ciascuna con il proprio rabbino e la sua propria yeshivah la scuola ebraica dove si studiano la Torah e il Talmud e sinagoga il pretesto usato da Chaim Potok per raccontare cosa significasse essere ebrei a New York negli anni e nei giorni che precedettero il riconoscimento da parte dell ONU dello Stato di Israele.Ma anche l occasione per descrivere l ebraismo nelle sue diverse forme confessionali e tradizioni, per ripercorrere le vicende che portarono gli ebrei ashkenaziti dell Europa orientale negli Stati Uniti e per raccontare della chiusura degli chassidim a ogni forma di integrazione e nei confronti di ogni altra interpretazione della Torah e del Talmud una storia, inoltre, in cui la diversa concezione della stessa fede mette a confronto l importanza del sapere fine a se stesso le interpretazioni del Talmud del padre di Reuven, sempre indulgente e teso a trasformare ogni esperienza in insegnamento di vita, e il confronto muto o le sfide a colpi di Cabala fra l intransigente rabbino Saunders e il figlio Danny, sono sconvolgenti e affascinanti e l importanza della preghiera per costruire un uomo e un mondo migliori.Infine, ancora una volta, una storia di libero arbitrio, di destino, non gi disegnato e scelto sin dalla nascita, ma nel quale anche chi si crede possa essere eletto per assurgere a un ruolo guida nella sua comunit , sfidando l autorit paterna, che crede possa coincidere con quella divina, riuscir a capire che nulla gi scritto senza che si possa decidere di modificarne il tracciato, e cambiare cos il corso della propria vita.Commovente, coinvolgente, un romanzo di formazione fatto di dualismi e dicotomie da un lato l America e dall altro Israele, da un lato l essere americani e dall altro essere ebrei o ebrei sionisti, da un lato lo yiddish e dall altro l ebraico, da un lato il baseball e dall altro lo studio della Torah e del TalmudUna traduzione, quella italiana, che avrebbe bisogno di una bella rinfrescata. Essere figli Essere padriQuesto bellissimo romanzo la storia di un amicizia fra due ragazzi Vi per molto di pi il rapporto di due figli coi rispettivi padri il fronteggiarsi di due diverse concezioni e tradizioni pur all interno della stessa religione ebraicaLe vicende si svolgono a New York, nel quartiere dove gli ebrei immigrati dall Europa hanno ricostituito le loro comunit.Il periodo compreso tra gli ultimi anni della Seconda Guerra Mondiale e i fatti successivi alla proclamazione dello Stato di Israele nel 48 Il momento storico cruciale l olocausto in Europa la comunit ebraica in America che si sente l unica rimasta indenne, quindi responsabile di rappresentare anche chi non c pi Poi il Movimento sionista per la riedificazione di uno Stato ebraico in zona mediorientale, con il fronteggiarsi di due diverse posizioni chi agisce a favore del progetto e chi vi si oppone per il ti, in caso di riuscita, di una gestione ormai non in linea con le tradizioni originarie ma protesa ad una mentalit sostanzialmente laica, americanizzata.La parte preponderante del libro, e comunque sempre presente, riguarda per l aspetto relazionale affettivo Potok delinea grandi figure di padri, per i quali l educazione dei figli questione di rilevantissima importanza Aleggia poi fra le pagine un grande senso di rispetto per le opinioni altrui e soprattutto per chi le esprime Si vive con forti valori L uomo deve colmare la sua vita di significato c poi una tensione all approfondimento capace di sorprendere chi mentalmente avesse gi emesso giudizi stando alla superficie delle questioni Lezioni di vita anche per chi, come noi, si sente distante da quel mondo rappresentato.Il libro presenta una struttura a cui solo le opere grandissime possono aspirare nulla di troppo, nulla di troppo poco In pi si respira un atmosfera di accoglienza che consola e d speranza anche il dolore talvolta pu essere un percorso necessario di crescita.Si tratta di un testo per certi aspetti sapienziale, da cui si esce arricchiti e maggiormente riconciliati con se stessi e con gli altri.E importante sapere che le vicende proseguono in un libro successivo almeno altrettanto bello La scelta di Rewen. It Is The Now Classic Story Of Two Fathers And Two Sons And The Pressures On All Of Them To Pursue The Religion They Share In The Way That Is Best Suited To Each And As The Boys Grow Into Young Men, They Discover In The Other A Lost Spiritual Brother, And A Link To An Unexplored World That Neither Had Ever Considered Before In Effect, They Exchange Places, And Find The Peace That Neither Will Ever Retreat From Again Danny Saunders was raised in silence to save his soul His father saw that his mind was so keen that his soul would be lost if there was not some awful tragedy to break his soul into a living space So his father raised him in silence, never speaking to him until Danny learned to listen to that silence, to hear in the silence the cry of millions of his people as they were slaughtered, starved, beaten, and experimented upon by Hilter s army It did not make Danny a rabbi, but it saved his soul in the end It gave him the ears of a psychologist as he could listen to that silence.As I read this, I kept thinking about how God has raised us in silence We are only allowed communication with him in certain ways, through rituals, through scripture All else is silence In this silence, we long for a closer relationship We suffer We hold respect for God and the methods used for communication And in that silence, we hear the suffering of the world, of each child that dies every five seconds of hunger We hear that silence, and, I hope, it gives us a heart. I m 23 years old and I ve been reading for most of the time I ve been alive In all those years of reading, I can recall openly sobbing on only two occasions The first time was in Little Women, when Beth March died And the second time was in The Chosen, when Reb Saunders said this In the silence between us, he began to hear the world crying. This is a man s worldBut it wouldn t be nothing, nothing, not one little thing, without a woman or a girlHe s lost in the wildernessHe s lost in bitterness, he s lost lostJames Brown, of course This must have been by far one of the most solemn books I ve ever read It s a poignant story about two teenagers who grow up in Jewish Orthodox families in Brooklyn, during the period between the end of the second world war and the creation of Israel The author explores their friendship, the relationships with their fathers, and the struggle between faith and secularity There are extensive passages about the study of the Talmud and orthodox scholarship Zionism is also a theme the book touches upon The story is told in a straightforward style, and in a sad tone throughout The book immerses the reader not only in a fundamentalist atmosphere, but also in a man s world, in which women are almost totally absentYou ought to get yourself a girl, it s a wonderful tonic for a suffering soul This was by far the best advice Reuven gave to his friend Danny 7 10 i was litterally gnna shoot myself when reading this boook i couldnt evn stand it so i decided to buy the audio version on itunes and that was even worse and cost me like 20 dolllaa i wass like heyllll nawww im not reading dissss but den i did cuzz i kinda had too its about a jewish nerd who gets hit in the eye when the rivalryy jewish team hits him they dont like eachother or something i dont know it was all downhill from there ysaaaaa heardd At its core The Chosen is about the relationship between two Brooklyn boys Danny and Reuven, the world they grow up in, and their relationship with their fathers Both are Jewish, but while they share the same faith, they belong to radically different portions of that faith Danny is Hasidic What s he is the son of a Rebbe and expected to take up the mantle with the passing of his father Reuven, on the other hand, is part of modern Orthodox Judaism and is the son of a Talmudic teacher.While growing up mere blocks from each other they do not cross paths until a baseball game brings them together and then sends Reuven to the hospital when Danny slams a line drive into Reuven s face, breaking his glasses and sending glass into his eye So, not the best foot for a relationship to get off on Danny visits Reuven in the hospital and while Reuven is initially hostile to Danny his father convinces him to give Danny and chance and they begin to become friends.The relationship between the two boys blossoms as they grow up We discover Danny is brilliant, with a once in a generation mind who fears being trapped into the role of his people s Rebbe His father only speaks to him when they discuss the Talmud and forbids him from reading world book such as Freud and Darwin Reuven, while still very smart, is much mathematically inclined than Danny In spite of their differences they become great friends, spending many evenings and Sabbaths together In the background WWII is coming to a close and the horrors of the Holocaust are being reveled.This leads to the big clash in the book, Zionism Immediately post WWII, when the full horrors that had been visited on the Jews was made widely known there was a resurgence in Zionism, specifically a homeland in British Palestine While many Jews were in favor of a return to their historic homeland, the religious ones such as Edah HaChareidis thought that their could never be a Jewish state until the return of Messiah Danny s father passionately felt this way while Reuven s father was an ardent Zionist This matter was further complicated by Jewish terrorist attacks as well as attackes by Arabs and the British on Jewish neighborhoods and immigrants It was a huge mess and naturally the boys are caught in the middle with Danny s father forbidding Danny from seeing or interacting with Reuven Potok s writing in conveying all the emotions Reuven experiences throughout the book is stupendous We see him grow both as a person coming into his own as a man and his relationship with Danny We see his evolving attitude towards his own religion and how he chooses it to affect his life Naturally Potok, an orthodox rabbi himself, treats all these conflicts with a deft and empathetic hand There are no good guys or bad guys, just people trying to navigate the turbulent times they live in Even the rather monstrous silent treatment Danny s father subjects him to comes from a place of love and compassion The tragedy of the book is what circumstances people find themselves in through no fault of their own and how it affects their relationships with others But such is the nature of life, so beautifully encapsulated by this novel. This was required reading for my sopho year honors English class upon reading chapter one, I prepared myself for great disappointment, firstly because the chapter was entirely about baseball which although I ve tried to enjoy I can t seem to get in to, I m sorry to say , and secondly because it was so descriptive It was hard to imagine me being interested in something soflowery in some time I ll post a review on another required reading, the oh so detailed Great Expectations, which hasn t improved for me even through chapter thirty six.Coming into the later chapters of The Chosen, I began to enjoy it a lot Not only was the storyline interesting and the characters likable, but its deeper meaning was insightful and reminded me of the events happening in the U S concerning Jews and the Holocaust about Mr Malter rallying for a Jewish state, about Reb Saunders opposing this movement, and most prominently sticking out in my mind, the quote from the Hasidic boy who told Reuven that Hitler destroyed the Jewish body, but you destroy the Jewish soul paraphrased It gave me a certain perspective that makes me regret not having read the book sooner.This is one of those books that I love, but can t really explain why With Dune it s easy great story, great characters, it s got everything I ve ever asked for With Harry Potter, it s got great people, great creatures, great symbolism With The Hobbit it gives you a fun story and lovable characters But, like The Chosen, books like The Invisible Man, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451 all leave me mind boggled I love those books They make me think They make me wonder It s like the brief, fleeting moment in Algebra when you realize that you ve got it and it s all clicking into place there are no words to describe how you feel when you realize, Hey, I understand what the author means by this, I see it s deeper meaning all just before the feeling goes and you re left paralyzed by the knowledge that you ve understood what it s all about, even if you don t understand it now quite as completely as in that moment, but instead of the movement of clicking into place it s like you ve understood it all along With these kinds of books, there s a supernatural element to them that entirely surpasses other novels, and your literary understanding is taken to new levels and into new lights.These are the kinds of books I want to be reading for the rest of my life.The Chosen is one of those booksand as much as I m disliking Dickens at the moment, I m glad I had that bit of required reading. NEW YEAR RESOLUTION NUMBER 62 READ EVERYTHING WRITTEN BY CHAIM POTOK.I think I might actually end up fulfilling this resolution unlike most of the others , because the chosen was a masterpiece.It s a poignant story about friendship, father son relationship, about 2 Jew families on the other side of the Zionist movement and the reaction of American Jews to the horrors of holocaust It s about two deeply religious boys, trying to strike a balance between modernity and their deep rooted traditions, it s about the influence parents have in shaping their children s belief system In fact, Chaim Potok encompasses so many varied topics with in this novel, and he does so with great expertise The tensions between tradition and modern American life are a frequent theme in any immigrant literature Yet Chaim Potok explores this theme in an unusual and distinctive manner, focusing on the ways in which different Jewish communities react to modernization He uses complementary and contrasting pairs of characters like Danny Saunder and Reuven Malter and their fathers to study the different ways of balancing Jewish observance with life in twentieth century America Danny Saunder belongs to the Hasidic sect whereas Reuven is an orthodox Jew At first glance, they seem as different to the reader as they seem to each other But despite Danny and Reuven s religious differences, each must deal with the fact that, by virtue of his birth, he belongs to the Jewish tradition As Jews, both Reuven and Danny must deal with religious commitments and responsibilities that most children their age do not have to encounter Both share an intense competitive drive and a fervent intellectual passion This forges a friendship between them, which develops through out the novel.Reuven and Danny s friendship is like a breath of fresh air They play a mutually beneficial role in each other s life Danny is interested in science and the humanities, while Reuven s strength is in mathematics Hence, they complement each other Each teaches and is taught by the other and their relationship is delightful to the eyes It is so refreshing to read about a set of friends, not bickering or gossiping and actually doing something constructive If only people were like them Both the characters have vastly different relationship with their father While Reuven and David Malter have an open and free relationship built on mutual love and respect, Reb Saunders comes across as a tyrant The only time when he speaks to his son is while teaching him Like Reuven, I think it s a very crappy method of teaching one to look into their soul But, since even me and my dad can spend weeks not talking to each other when we are mad, I think I understand Again, David and Reb Saunders come across as poles apart They share different views about the Zionist movement, about science and religion, and they frequently come into conflict Still, as the novel progresses, one again sees beyond the superficial appearances to realize how similar they are The message that, people are not always how they initially appear and we cannot dismiss that which we do not understand, resonate through out the novel.In The Chosen, personal developments are intricately related to historic events The first third of the novel unfolds during the Allied offensive in World War II, the middle third deals with the American Jewish community s response to the Holocaust, and the final third is concerned with the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state in Palestine These events are not merely backdrop for the novel, but contribute significantly to its plot and thematic content Okay, confession time My reason for immensely liking the novel might be briefly personal The story of two adolescents trying to reconcile the idea of an all powerful, all knowing God within events of random, senseless suffering, struck a chord with me I could greatly empathize with the struggle that the world s Jews and the characters in the novel faced in the wake of the Holocaust Chaim Potok raised several questions, which I myself have pondered countless times.When does thinking for oneself become disrespecting traditions and deep rooted beliefs What is the worth of religious ceremonies and rulesAnd, most importantlyIf God existed, how could he let this happen If you have ever asked yourself those questions, you would love this novel If you haven t lucky you you would still love it.Highest possible recommendation and 5 twinkling stars.
Herman Harold Potok, or Chaim Tzvi, was born in Buffalo, New York, to Polish immigrants He received an Orthodox Jewish education After reading Evelyn Waugh s novel Brideshead Revisited as a teenager, he decided to become a writer He started writing fiction at the age of 16 At age 17 he made his first submission to the magazine The Atlantic Monthly Although it wasn t published, he received a n
- 304 pages
- The Chosen
- Chaim Potok
- 27 April 2018 Chaim Potok