Hasidic Jew And Orthodox Jew: Is Friendship Possible Between The Two?

962 words - 4 pages

The Chosen, a novel written by Chaim Potok, is filled with a variety of themes that are brought together through each individual chapter. Chapter 7 in the book had a major impact in bringing forth the novel’s theme. For instance, in this chapter, the narrator, Reuven, starts by establishing the basic plot. He states, “The next day, I met Danny’s father” (Potok 112). Having this plot established is key in the chapter for it is the day that could make or break their friendship in a matter of seconds. Reuven and Danny Saunders have become friends since the incident during the ball game. Yet, there is a conflict in their friendship. Danny is a Hasidic Jew and follows the strict rules and beliefs of the Hasidic faith. Reuven, on the other hand, is an Orthodox Jew who does not follow all of the traditional customs, but does honor his faith. Rev Saunders, Danny’s father, hears from his son about his relationship with Reuven Matler, and wants to meet the young teen to approve of this companionship. Danny has never had a comrade who had not been a Hasidic Jew. This begins to show part of how the two must work through numerous hurdles in order to sustain their friendship and let it grow. Another example in this chapter that supports the basic plot is how Rev Saunders not only quizzes Danny on the Talmud lecture, but unexpectedly quizzes Reuven. He needed to test the boy, not only to approve of him as a friend for Danny, but to see what the son of David Malter knew. Rev Saunders approaches Reuven and says, “I am happy my Daniel has chosen you for a friend. My son has many friends. But he does not talk about them the way he talks about you” (141). He approves of his son’s friendship with Reuven Malter.
Danny and Reuven had just passed what they tought would be the hardest part of their friendship, which was receiving the approval of Rev Saunders. However, there is already another obstacle beginning to form Reuven does not agree at all with Rev Saunders’s methods of quizzing his son on the Talmud. Danny saw this as nothing out of the ordinary, but Reuven saw it as a cruel, unnecessary method of studying. This part of the chapter shows parts of the worldview of the narrator. Reuven is an Orthodox Jew who still honors his faith but does not follow all of the old, traditional ways of his culture. He is allowed to have secular interests and has more freedom than Hasidic Jews. Due to this fact, he has trouble understanding why Rev Saunders finds it obligatory to quiz Danny in front of the entire congregation, where there is a chance of complete and utter humiliation. Reuven expresses...

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