The Chosen

Earlier this week I finished reading Chaim Potok’s classic, The Chosen. Although I have seen the movie numerous times, and have repeatedly heard how much better the book was, I only finally got around to reading it … AND I’M GLAD I DID!


For those not already familiar with this classic, which has sold millions of copies, it is the story of a young Modern Orthodox kid from Brooklyn (Reuven Malter) who befriends a Chassidic kid (Danny Saunders), who is the son of a great Chassidic Rebbe. The book explores a number of themes, including Zionism, Chasidism, and life in Jewish Brooklyn in the 1940’s. It really gives an excellent glimpse into the very different worlds of Reuven and Danny, and yet at the same time, the similarities between them.

The story describes the adolescent struggles of the two main characters to figure out their life-paths, the struggles of faith, and the realities of life. Chaim Potok not only creates a world that pulls you into it, but entangles your own heart and emotions with that of the characters. As I finished reading the book Sunday night, tears streamed down my face. The message of the story pulled at my heart strings, and left me yearning for more (which I just began the sequel, The Promise!).

If you’re still looking for a light Summer read that will feed you emotionally, spiritually, and Jewishly, pick-up a copy of The Chosen. You’ll be glad you did!

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Beth Emunah Messianic Synagogue in Agoura Hills, CA, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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3 Responses to The Chosen

  1. Abigail R. says:

    This is one of my favorite books and I have easily read it more than thirty times. I am glad that you finally got a chance to read it! The sequel is excellent as well, but The Chosen still reigns as my favorite Chaim Potok work of fiction. Happy reading!

  2. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Abigail,Thanks for sharing! Sorry we missed you while you were in town.

  3. derek4messiah.wordpress.com says:

    LOL, us J-BOMers read the sequel (The Promise) last month.Not implying you're behind the eight-ball . . . Derek Leman

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