One day, Danny tries to explain to Reuven that silence can be listened to, that it speaks, and can enliven a person.
Reuven doesn’t understand and Danny tries to explain further, but it’s too much for Reuven to grasp.
When Reuven changes the subject and tells Danny he has a (unnamed) girlfriend and that Danny should get one, too, Danny tells him that the Reb has already picked out a wife for him – he sees this as another aspect of the trap that he needs to free himself from.
The day after his bar mitzvah, Levi Saunders gets really sick and goes to the hospital.
When David asks Reuven why Levi’s illness upsets him so much, he admits that it’s because he wants Levi to be alive to inherit Reb Saunders’ position.
David says that Danny will have to think long and hard before he tells his father the news. He will have to anticipate all questions.
Danny is "about to be let out of jail," and he must be very careful.
He tells Reuven to tell Danny that he can talk to David about it, and he will help him.
Soon after this, Levi is discharged from the hospital and seems to feel well.
Reuven starts asking Danny about his future.
Danny plans to stop looking like a traditional Hassid when he pursues his doctorate.
That evening, Danny comes over to talk to David.
Danny reveals to him that he will "refuse" to marry his betrothed, and David warns him to be very careful in breaking all this news to his father.
Then, he asks him if he can "hear silence." When Danny agrees, he asks him if he’s mad at his dad, and if he understands why his father is silent with him.
He shakes his head at both questions.
David tells him that all will be revealed to him at some point.
When Danny leaves, Reuven tries to get his father to explain this "hearing silence" business, but on that point, David is silent.
Danny gets accepted all the schools he’s applied to, and he tells Reuven that the Reb must know by now what’s going on – he must have seen the acceptance letters and put two and two together.
Danny wishes his dad would bring it up.
Danny and Reuven ponder the Reb’s silence, yet again.
Apparently, Danny is the only child his father raises this way, neither his (nameless) sister nor Levi are subjected to the same treatment.
Reuven continues to complain about the Reb.
Just before Passover, Danny tells Reuven that the Reb has asked to see Reuven repeatedly.
Reuven is apprehensive, but when he tells his father, David says that the Reb wants to talk to him about Danny.
David tells Reuven he needs to learn how to listen better. When somebody wants to talk to him, he needs to go and talk to them.
So, Reuven calls Danny and tells him to tell the Reb that he’ll be over on Passover.