THE CHOSEN by Chaim  Potok


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This first novel, ostensibly about the friendship between two boys, Reuven and Danny, from the time when they are fourteen on opposing yeshiva ball clubs, is actually a gently didactic differentiation between two aspects of the Jewish faith, the Hasidic and the Orthodox. Primarily the Hasidic, the little known mystics with their beards, earlocks and stringently reclusive way of life. According to Reuven's father who is a Zionist, an activist, they are fanatics; according to Danny's, other Jews are apostates and Zionists "goyim." The schisms here are reflected through discussions, between fathers and sons, and through the separation imposed on the two boys for two years which still does not affect their lasting friendship or enduring hopes: Danny goes on to become a psychiatrist refusing his inherited position of "tzaddik"; Reuven a rabbi.... The explanation, in fact exegesis, of Jewish culture and learning, of the special dedication of the Hasidic with its emphasis on mind and soul, is done in sufficiently facile form to engage one's interest and sentiment. The publishers however see a much wider audience for The Chosen. If they "rub their tzitzis for good luck,"--perhaps--although we doubt it.
Pub Date: April 28th, 1967
ISBN: 0449911543
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1967


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