by Chaim Potok
The Chosen Chapter 18 Summary
- On the afternoon of Passover, Reuven makes his way over to Danny’s to meet the Reb.
- Everything seems quite the same in the Reb’s study.
- Reb Saunders greets Reuven warmly, and Reuven apologizes for not coming sooner.
- The Reb asks Reuven about his plans, and, when he hears that Reuven is going into the rabbinate, he looks somewhat surprised.
- Then, he tells Reuven that Danny has chosen a different path.
- Now, it’s Danny’s turn to look surprised.
- The Reb continues to speak to Reuven, and to Danny, through Reuven.
- He talks about his brother, the one who disappeared, leaving the Reb to carry on the family line. His brother eventually died in a concentration camp.
- The brother was apparently as brilliant as Danny, but there was a coldness to him, a soullessness.
- Then, the Reb starts explaining why he’s been silent with Danny.
- It was something he learned from his father.
- The silence is a form of suffering by which a person can gain empathy for others.
- The Reb imposed the silence because it was a family tradition, but also because he did not want Danny to be coldly brilliant like the Reb’s brother.
- For Danny’s brilliance to be real, it must be tempered by suffering. Through silence, Danny has learned to feel the suffering of the world.
- Reuven doesn’t understand, and the Reb knows it.
- But Danny understands exactly what his father is talking about.
- After his explanation, the Reb gives Danny everything he wants – that is, his father’s blessing to pursue his dreams of psychology, to shave his beard and earlocks, and to break the arranged marriage.
- The Reb breaks down and cries. He addresses Danny directly and begs Danny for forgiveness.
- Then, he leaves the room and it’s Danny’s turn to start bawling.
- Finally, Reuven starts crying, too.
- In the morning service, the first Shabbat in June, the Reb tells his followers that Levi, not Danny, will inherit his position.
- At the end of the month, Danny and Reuven graduate from college.
- Before Danny goes off to Columbia University that September, he visits David and Reuven. His earlocks and beard are shaved.
- Reuven asks Danny if he will raise his son, if he has a son, in silence, the way his father raised him.
- Danny says that he might – unless he can find a better way.
- Reuven walks Danny out, and Danny continues down the road, and then the novel ends.
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