The Chosen, By Chaim Potok Essay

1392 words - 6 pages

The book, The Chosen is a book that has inspired many people in the world. It’s the story of two Jewish teenage boys coming of age in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York between 1944 and 1949. The author of this book, Chaim Potok was a well known writer in the late 1960s. Chaim rose to literary prominence’s when The Chosen became a best seller in 1967. Born in Bronx, New York, in 1929, Chaim like the two teens in his novel grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Both his mother and father were strictly observant Orthodox Jews and did not support his interest in writing, because they didn’t want any of their sons involved in activities outside of their community. This conflict with his parents definitely shows up in different ways in this book, because the book is mostly about Chaim’s life and the characters relate to him. In this well written novel, we get to watch two ultra brilliant Jewish teenagers grow up. By “Growing Up” it means that the boys will learn to balance their commitments to Judaism and varied traditions that are good and not good for all of the Jewish Communities at the time. As the world grows and changes around them, the young men and their fathers will get to learn that tradition is flexible and that each person’s individual choices contribute to their Jewish tradition and can bring their people together.
This book has much to tell. There are many themes that are shown in the novel. The three that are important to me and the book are: the father-son relationship, the religious implications of friendship, and silence as a path to the soul. The father-son relationship is a very important theme is this book. The Chosen is a novel that highlights the importance of the father-son relationship: “I was a son to my father…. And he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words….” Coming from the Bible, this quote is pointing out the connection between the obedience to one’s father, God, and religion. The fathers of the book can be viewed as a fount of wisdom; they teach their children in different ways, but believe in the same religion. David Malter and Reb Saunders both possess profound knowledge and deep spiritual commitment, which these qualities will be passed onto their sons. Yet, the two fathers may be different from one another; they do interpret Judaism in a contrasting way. In particular, the fathers have different beliefs about what their commitments to the outside world should be and how to raise their children. In the book, David Malter tells his son “A father can bring up a child anyway he wishes.”(P.257). These differences in beliefs help inform how each father teaches and relates to his son, and how each son develops and matures. “…. It was practiced in Europe by some few Hasidic families. Then his voice went hard, there are better ways to teach child compassion.” (p.262). So, in the end the father-son relationship is what makes these teenage boys individual and what they believe in.
The religious...

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