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Free Study Guide-The Chosen by Chaim Potok-Free Online Booknotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 8

Summary

When Reuven returns to school after his injury, he is treated like a hero; but Reuven always remains silent whenever the other boys say ugly things about Danny and his team.

One day after school Reuven goes to the library, where he finds Danny reading with utmost concentration. He seems to be upset about something. Danny stops to read a section of the book aloud to Reuven. It is a criticism of Hasidism and its followers. Reuven tries to calm Danny, stating that the author was just giving a picture of Hasids of his day; but Danny refuses to be calmed. Danny turns the conversation to the subconscious mind and dreams, about which he has been reading in a psychology book. He then reveals that he is learning German, which shocks Reuven.

Returning home, Reuven tells his father about his day and about meeting Danny in the library. He states that Danny is studying German, which surprises Mr. Malter. Then Reuven's father expresses his concern about referring books to Danny behind his father's back.

One afternoon Reuven and Danny decide to spend the afternoon studying the Talmud with the rabbi, Danny's father. Reb Saunders reads a passage out loud, and both boys take turns explaining it. When the rabbi sends Danny away to bring tea, he tells Reuven that he is worried about his son. He also reveals that he knows Danny spends time in the library reading and questions Reuven about the subject matter. Reuven feels compelled to tell the rabbi that Danny reads books on psychology, even those by and about Darwin. The rabbi moans over his son's deep curiosity. He says to the Lord above, "Master of the Universe, you gave me a brilliant son and I have thanked you for him a million times. But you had to make him so brilliant?"


When Danny returns with the tea, the three of them continue with their studies until it is time for Reuven to depart. While walking Reuven home, Danny says that his father believes in silence so that a person can solve one's own problems by looking into the soul. Reuven is unable to understand this strange belief in silence. At home, Reuven's father explains to his son that this is another ancient Jewish tradition.

Notes

In this chapter, more is learned about Danny and Reuven and their blossoming relationship. When Reuven returns to school, he is a hero; but he refuses to say anything negative about Danny or his team, even when the other boys criticize them. It is obvious that Reuven has overcome his anger towards Danny and replaced it with friendship.

When Reuven finds Danny in the library, he is attentively reading a book. His utter concentration shows Danny's innate thirst for knowledge. He also reveals his resentment when the author dares to criticize Hasidism. Yet Danny shows that he has an open mind, for he is learning the German language, even though the Germans have persecuted the Jews. He feels it will benefit him in his study of psychology, especially the psychology of Freud.

It is interesting to see the two boys from divergent backgrounds studying the Talmud with Danny's father, the rabbi. During the study session, both Reuven and Danny show their brilliance in their own ways. Reuven is especially good at understanding logistics and applying them to the theories in the Talmud. The rabbi is obviously impressed with Reuven's abilities.

Reb Saunders reveals his deep concern for his son. When he sends Danny away to bring tea, the rabbi questions Reuven about what kind of books that Danny is reading from the library. It is the first of several times where Reuven will serve as a kind of go-between between the father and son who rarely speak to one another except on religious matters. Amazingly, Reuven feels compelled to tell the rabbi the truth about Danny, revealing that his friend devotes much time to psychology books. The news disturbs Reb Saunders.

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