Reb Saunders In Chaim Potok's The Chosen

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Upon review of Chaim Potok’s novel The Chosen, one comes to notice the many transformations taking place throughout the book. Although many characters go through a major metamorphosis, the change taking place in Reb Saunders is one of great significance. Reb Saunders’ character is one of a stern and imposing man. He is portrayed as a domineering character that imposes his values on anyone who enters his household. He is seen as one who shows no kindness and compassion, whose fanaticism about his Hasidic religion threatens his relationship with his son, and also as one who dictates over his son’s life. Throughout the course of the novel, changes take place in and around the areas in Reb Saunders’ life that force him to go through a transformation in which he…show more content…
He is a stern man who has suffered greatly, having fled from Russia during the Bolshevik revolution with his followers after the murder of his wife and children, and he retains an absolute conviction in his Hasidic beliefs. Reb holds a view of a world that is cruel and unforgiving and one which, as he cites from the Torah, “flays our skin from our bodies and throws us to the flames” (Potok 133). The fanaticism of Reb Saunders threatens the one meaningful friendship that his son has and tortures him with a bizarre silence. Reb Saunders’ fanaticism is necessary and though it does not have completely desirable effects, it nonetheless is beneficial for all the Jews. As the tzaddick, Reb Saunders has to choose between a closer relationship with his son and what is best for all of his followers. He tries to compromise by making his son a better person and therefore a better tzaddik for his followers. In the end, Reb Saunders lets Danny go his own way. He has realized for years that his son will not follow in his footsteps and finally acknowledges the fact aloud to his

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