The Chosen Essay

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Parents often sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their children. In the novel, The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, Reb Saunders, a Hasidic rabbi, sacrifices his relationship with his son Danny. Danny doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a rabbi and tzaddik. After many years of struggling, Reb announces to his son’s friend Reuven, “Let my Daniel be a psychologist. I have no more fear now. All his life he will be a tzaddik. He will be a tzaddik for the world. And the world needs a tzaddik…” (280). Reb now knows that Danny will be a great psychologist and will still have the understanding of a tzaddik. Danny is a brilliant young man who doesn’t want to take over the obligatory position of tzaddik from his father. He wants to be a psychologist. Reb always knew that Danny would not have a strong connection to the Hasidic sect and would need to move on with his life. When Danny was four years old, his father stopped talking to him except during the study of Talmud. Danny explains to Reuven why his father decided to raise him in silence and what he hoped Danny would accomplish from this. Reb told Danny, “to close my mouth and look into my soul. He told me to stop running to him every time I had a problem. I should look into my own soul for the answer, he said.” (170). “We just don’t talk, Reuven.” (170). As a young boy, Danny felt no compassion for the suffering of others, no empathy and no sense of sadness. Reb felt that the teaching of silence was the only way for Danny to learn to understand other people’s pain and to redeem his soul. Danny will be “a tzaddik for the world,” because he will always have the soul of a true leader and the compassion for others. He has learned this from the silence. Reb support Danny’s career choice because he knows that Danny has learned the same lesson that his father gave him, “He taught me

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