Essay the Chosen

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The Chosen, by Chaim Potek, is a novel written about two Jewish boys growing up in Brookyln. Though they lived only five blocks from each other, Danny and Reuven lived very different lives, primarily because of the influence of their fathers. Reb Saunders and Mr. Malters approached raising a child, their Jewish faith, and the world in general from two very different perspectives. Despite the profound differences, both men tried very hard to do what was right for their sons.

As fathers, Reb Saunders and Mr. Malters both loved their sons very much, however they demonstrated this love quite differently. Reb raised his son in complete silence, wanting him to learn compassion and to develop a soul to go with his great mind, talking to him only when studying the Torah. To be specific, unless it related to his religious studies, Reb did not talk to or with Danny after the age of 3. On the other hand, Mr. Malters placed a great deal of emphasis on good and frequent communication between himself and his son. Reb wanted Danny to find things out for himself, while Mr. Malters wanted Reuven to be able to come to him with questions. Mr. Malters and Reuven would often talk for hours about various subjects, such as the time Mr. Malters explained the history of Hasidism to him. Mr. Malters was his son's friend and could be depended on for emotional support such as when President Roosevelt died. Danny did not have this close relationship with his father, thus explaining his dependency on Reuven. Even though Reb Saunders and Mr. Malters raised their sons in opposite ways, they did so out of love and deeply felt that they were doing the right thing.

Because both Saunders and Malters were Jews, they had the same basic doctrines and worshiped the same God. However, because they belonged to different sects, there were some significant differences as well. Worshiping as a Hasid, Reb Saunders lived a strict and structured life. As the tzaddik, he was expected to bear the...
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