The Chosen Essay

Book Report
Title : The Chosen
Author : Chaim Potok
Number of pages : 271 pages
Date published : 1967
What is your book about?
The story, set in New York during the Second World War, is basically about the friendship between two boys. It begins with a baseball game between Reuven’s team and Danny’s team. During the game, when Reuven is pitcher, Danny, the batter, hits the baseball in the pitcher’s direction which Reuven tries to block with his glove but it strikes him and shatters his glasses and Reuven is forced to be hospitalised. While Reuven is in the hospital Danny comes to visit him. They have quite a few conversations throughout Reuven’s stay in hospital and become friends.

After Reuven goes back home, the rest of the book is about the friendship evolving as the two boys grow up and go through high school. There are few events of great importance that take place during the remainder of the story, with most of them having a marginal impact. The Chosen is more about the development of the characters and their relationship than the individual actions. It describes a place where the worlds of very religious Judaism and not so religious Judaism meet, which is hard to imagine for an outsider. It shows how, even though two groups of people are Jewish, there are many differences between them.

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Describe an intersting character
Reb Saunders is Danny’s father, the rabbi of an Hasidic synagogue near Reuven’s house. Close to the end of the novel, he gives a lengthy explanation to Danny and Reuven of the reasons that he brought up his son in silence. The justification given is that he received a son who had a tremendous mind, but no soul. He was forced to educate him in this manner in order to prevent Danny from becoming like his own brother, who also had a great mind but was insensitive towards others that were not as intelligent as him which prevented him from becoming a wise man. Reb Saunders’ father also brought up Danny’s father in silence so that he would not always ask questions, but instead look inside himself for answers ; and that is also what Reb Saunders did with Danny. He is very interesting because, sometimes he seems nice and gentle and other times cruel and mean, especially in the way he brought up his son. But he always has a reason for every act he performs.

What did you particularily like or dislike about this book?
This book was extremely interesting because it taught me a lot about the Hasidic movement but most importantly, the contrast between the two different Jewish communities. It is ironic that Reuven, brought up in a more secular society, decides to become a rabbi, while Danny, the religious one, wants to become a psychologist. I found the last part, when Reb Saunders explains his silence with Danny very thought-provoking. It tells us to have understanding and compassion for others.

Find three new or interesting words in the book
1- brooding
2- ordination
3- Talmud
Define them and put them in a sentance showing its meaning
1- brooding : to think deeply or worry anxiously
He was brooding endlessly after I told him the news.

2- ordination : the act or ceremony of ordaining
ordaining : to install as a minister, priest or rabbi
Finally, after many years of work, the rabbi received his ordination.

3- Talmud : the collection of ancient Rabbinic writings constituting the base of religious authority in Orthodox Judaism
The rabbis often study Talmud for great lengths of time.


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