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

CHAPTER 14

Summary

Since Danny and Reuven cannot speak to one another any more, they are both affected. Reuven has difficulty studying, and Danny loses weight. Reuven blames it all on Reb Saunders, for whom he feels an unspeakable hatred.

To counteract the Zionist movement, the Rabbi Saunders organizes a group of Hasidic Jews and calls it the League for a Religious Eretz Yisroel (Israel). Its aim is to make certain that there is no Jewish homeland until a Messiah comes to lead them there. The opposition causes greater tension on college campuses, with actual fistfights sometimes breaking out among the students.

Reuven is promoted to Gershenson's Talmud class with Danny. When the professor asks difficult questions that most of the students cannot answer, Reuven notices that Danny's hand is usually up to supply the answer.

In November, the United Nations votes in favor of the creation of Israel, a Jewish homeland. In reaction, the Arabs, angry over the news, begin to kill Jews and loot their shops.


Reuven's father suffers another stroke and has to be rushed to the hospital. Reuven is beside himself with worry. Unable to talk to him and offer words of comfort, Danny simply looks at Reuven with consolation and compassion and touches his hand. With his father in the hospital, Reuven does not attend class; but he devotes himself to an intense study of the Talmud alone, memorizing passages and using cross-references and parallel texts to help him understand.

When Reuven returns to class, Gershenson calls on him to explain a difficult text. Reuven's explanation continues for four days. On the fourth day, the professor calls to Reuven after class. Although Gershenson compliments him, he asks him to never again use such a complicated method of explanation in class again.

Notes

Because they can no longer talk to one another, Reuven finds it difficult to concentrate on his studies, and Danny is so upset that he loses weight. When Mr. Malter has another stroke, Danny cannot even console his old friend. He simply looks at him compassionately and briefly touches his hand.

Reb Saunders organizes the Hasidic Jews into a league of anti- Zionists, who fight against the creation of Israel before the coming of the Messiah. This opposition serves to intensify emotions, and on college campuses fistfights between the two groups sometimes break out.

Reuven is promoted into Gershenson's advanced Talmud class with Danny. He studies diligently and proves himself to be almost as brilliant as Danny. His understanding of the text and his ability to actually reconstruct a contradiction in its thoughts prove his exceptionally sharp mind. When Gershenson tells him never to give a similar explanation again, Reuven understands that it was courageous of him to point out an error in the holy book. Gershenson credits the courage to the fact that Reuven is the son of Mr. Malter, a political rebel and brilliant professor. The son is obviously following in the father's footsteps.

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