The Chosen: A Novel by Chaim Potok

As my daughter started digging into the Hebrew language, I remembered Chaim Potok's beautiful book, The Chosen, which follows to young Jewish boys in their journey of friendship in New York City during World War II.

This book provides a glimpse into two different Jewish families as they wrestle with retaining their faith and religious heritage in the midst of the hollocaust.


A Beautiful Example of Inspiring Students

The Chosen provides an inspirational example of owning your educationThe story centers around the relationship of two Jewish boys, Reuven and Danny, in New York City during WWII. 

At 15, Danny is fascinated with psychology and wants to read Freud in the original language. So he learns German. Even though he has a photographic memory for everything he reads, he finds he can’t just read Freud to understand it fully but must study it with Cassell’s German-English Dictionary and a dictionary of psychological terms. He wouldn’t move to a new sentence until he fully understood the prior sentence. 

While Reuven lacked a photographic memory, his study skills were also inspirational. When he studied the Talmud, he’d memorize the section he was working on, then memorize the various commentaries before reviewing the passage critically. He’d look at cross-references and memorize the differences between the texts. He’d search for parallel discussions working carefully and methodically to teach himself. This prepared him to be able to speak for four days straight on one passage without his professor asking for clarifications throughout his talk. 

We might not have the opportunity or need to study something to the depth in which these young men devoted themselves, but their example of what it looks like to be a good student definitely has inspired this learner to dig a little deeper! 

Other Books by Chaim Potok

The Promise continues the story of Danny and Reuven as they reconnect in helping a young boy.

My Name is Asher Lev follows the story of a young man torn between his cloistered Hasidic community and pursuing his artistic gifts.

The Gift of Asher Lev revisits the Asher's story twenty years later. Drawn back into his community after the death of his uncle, Asher has to figure out where he stands now.

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