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Quotes

Quote #1

"If they tell you it is all right, you should pray with your tefillin and prayer book. But only if they tell you it is all right and will not be harmful to your head and eye." (2.320)

David wants Reuven to understand that, while important, in his book, the rituals and ceremonies of Judaism must be put aside if health is an issue.

Quote #2

"You remember what the Talmud says. If a person comes to apologize for having hurt you, you must listen and forgive him." (3.140)

Though we don’t hear about it in the novel, Judaism has an entire holiday devoted to this idea. The "Ten Days of Repentance" begin on Rosh Hashanah and end the day before Yom Kippur. These ten days are a time of intense introspection. If someone has wronged or hurt someone else during the year but not apologized, that’s the time to do it. The wronged party also has an obligation to listen and try to understand the apologizer’s perspective. David Malter is teaching his son to act in this way all year long.

Quote #3

"The Talmud says that a person should do two things for himself. One is to choose a teacher. Do you know remember the other?"
"Choose a friend," I said. (4.15-16)

This is another example of Potok using David to present a very practical view of Judaism. By placing friendship under the auspice of religion, David also elevates friendship to an almost holy level, helping to prepare his son for what will truly be a life-changing experience.

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