Chosen essay questions

Study Questions 1 How does Potok weave together personal and political events in his novel? In contrast, David Malter believes that American Jews must give the Holocaust meaning by preserving the Jewish people and creating a homeland in Palestine. This fundamental difference of opinion between the two men ultimately drives Reb Saunders to end the friendship between Danny and Reuven. Potok implies that in the modern world, individual lives are inseparable from larger historical developments.

Chosen essay questions

What is the significance of the novel's title? According to the Torah the first five books of the Biblethe Jews were chosen to be in a covenant with God: For all the earth is mine: The covenant imposed on the Jews the duty of obeying God's commandments.

The Chosen: Essay Q&A | Novelguide

This also has meant that the Jews feel a special responsibility to be an example to other nations and to bring moral and ethical behavior to the rest of the world.

At certain points in Jewish history, the notion of the "chosen people" was taken to mean the superiority of Jews to non-Jews. But this was often in reaction to periods of persecution.

The result of such persecutions was that Jews withdrew into ghettos and adopted beliefs that separated them from the gentile world. In the novel, the carrier of the belief in the Jews as the chosen people is Reb Saunders.

As he says in his exhortation in the synagogue: We are commanded to sit in the light of the Presence! It is for this that we are created! It is this notion of the Jews' special relationship to God that is behind Saunders's fanatical opposition to a Jewish state founded on a secular basis.

For him, this is a betrayal of everything the Jews stand for. What is the significance of Rav Gershenson's negative attitude to Reuven's method of analyzing Talmud passages? Reuven has learned from his father a modern method of studying the Talmud, using historical and textual scholarship.

In chapter 14, he sets himself the task of explicating a particularly thorny passage in the Talmud, which he expects to be called upon to explain in Rav Gershenson's class.

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He notes that one of the simpler commentaries on the passage does not seem to be based on the text it is explaining. Reuven therefore tries to reconstruct the exact wording of the text that the medieval commentator had in front of him. He does this by comparing various versions of the text, from different volumes of the Talmud he mentions the Babylonian Talmud and the Palestinian Talmud until he has reconstructed the text that he believes is the correct one.

This helps him to understand both text and commentary. But he decides not to use this method in class. The reason is that Rav Gershenson is strictly conservative in his methods.

He is a fundamentalist who refuses to meddle with existing texts.

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In this view, the text cannot be altered in any way, whereas Reuven's method acknowledges that in ancient documents there is a human process of transmission involved, which may legitimately be analyzed.

As Potok himself once commented, Reuven's method of analysis makes the text fluid, and this is directly opposed to Rav Gershenson's belief that every word is sacred, as if it came direct from God.

What is the significance of the fact that Danny is drawn to the study of Freud? Danny is raised in the most rigid of religious environments that does not permit original thought, or skeptical or rational inquiry.

The Chosen: Essay Q&A | Novelguide

In the Hasidic sect led by Reb Saunders, Danny's father, everything is based on tradition and a religious view of the world. The sect is hostile to the modern world, which it regards as evil. This is a claustrophobic environment for Danny to grow up in. He has a brilliant mind and likes to exercise it, and not only in Talmud studies.

He is also in rebellion against his father, although he is not permitted to express this openly.

Chosen essay questions

It is therefore not surprising that he should be drawn to study Freud, since Freud's view of man as being at the mercy of subconscious forces in his own mind is directly opposed to the religious view. It leaves no room for God. For Danny, studying Freud is a way of expressing his desire to escape his father's influence.

For a while he has almost a religious veneration for Freud, studying him as he would study the Talmud. It seems as if he is about to replace one religion the Hasidic version of Judaism and replace it with the secular religion of Freudian psychoanalysis. His decision to read Freud in the original German is also an act of rebellion perhaps unconscious since the Germans, at this point in history, are the deadly enemies of the Jews, and Reb Saunders would be horrified if he knew Danny was reading German.

Later, Danny learns to assess Freud more rationally and rejects aspects of his work. But the fact that he is drawn to Freud in the first place, without any encouragement from anyone else, demonstrates how deep is his desire to escape his background and his apparently pre-destined future as the next leader of the Hasidic sect.

I would say that The Chosen is about two components in the core of Judaism. Both of these elements are in confrontation with an element from the core of Western civilization.October ESSAY QUESTIONS.

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The Chosen: Essay Q&A, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.

Sample English Literature Essay Questions. Analyze George Orwells Politics and the English Language. Compare and contrast the ways in which your three chosen texts support or challenge this statement.

Write an essay in which you compare Reuven and his father's relationship with Danny and his father's. Discuss the differences in how each set of father and son express their feelings for each other.

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