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!