What my mother read to me… Lit Quotes from The Chosen

Today my mother read a story to me. Well, part of a story, at last. She read it to me once before, the time I had written a harsh critic on the norms and values of our society. Now it was different. Back then she wanted me to think things through. Now… now she wanted to explain something -and these are her own words- something she couldn’t catch in her own words. She read a part from Chaim Potok’s “The Chosen”… I want to share this with you, because I would like your opinions.

It is the chapter in which the main protagonist, a jewish boy named Reuven, meets the father of his best fried and finally gets to ask him why he raised his son in complete silence, something that hurt his friend a lot at times. The father, a “tzaddik” (some sort of Rabbi) starts by telling him about the first time he saw his son read a book…

(…) There was no soul in my four-year-old Daniel, there was only his mind. He was a mind in a body without a soul (…) I went away and cried to the Master of the Universe, “What have you done to me? A mind like this I need for a son? A heart I need for a son, a soul I need for a son, compassion I want from my son, righteousness, mercy, strength to suffer and carry pain, that I want from my SON. Not a mind without a soul! “

Then he speaks of his own brother, who was a lot like his son Daniel…

‘I was only a child when he left to study in Odessa, but I still remember what he was able to do with his mind. But it was a cold mind, Reuven, almost cruel, untouched by his soul. It was proud, haughty, impatient with less brilliant minds, grasping in its search for knowledge the way a conqueror grasps for power. It could not understand pain, it was indifferent to and impatient with suffering. It was even impatient with the illness of its own body. I never saw my brother again after he left for the yeshiva.’

His own father had raised him in silence so he would learn to listen, made him suffer so he would understand sufferance.

‘One learns of the pain of others by suffering one’s own pain, he would say, by turning inside oneself, by finding one’s own soul. And it is important to know of pain, he said. It destroys our selfpride, our arrogance, our indifference toward others. It makes us aware of how frail and tiny we are and of how much we must depend upon the Master of the Universe.’

Daniel’s father is sad about how he found himself forced to treat his son the same way his father had treated him though…

‘Ah, what a price to pay… The years when he was a child and I loved him and talked with him and held him under my tallis when I prayed – “Why do you cry, Father? ” he asked me once under the tallis. “Because people are suffering, ” I told him. He could not understand. Ah, what it is to be a mind without a soul, what ugliness it is…’


About quantumphysica

My name is QuantumPhysica The Insane, but you can call me QP. I am insane, admitted to a mental hospital in Belgium, and waiting for a decent diagnosis at the moment. Once I was a physics student with goals in life and what more; now I'm simply the patient of Room 93. Ever wondered what life is like in the psychiatric ward? I'll tell you everything you ever wanted to know... I am... particularly twitchy of personality. But I also am genuinely interested in everything. There is nothing that doesn't interest me, really. Everything, from quantum computers to fashion and cars to traveling... I also give advice. On anything. No taboos whatsoever. And I make lists of things...
This entry was posted in Literature, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What my mother read to me… Lit Quotes from The Chosen

  1. Pingback: Motherhodd quotes | Kennelmanageme

  2. I remember when I was paralyzed from the neck down, and my mom started telling me that I was like Job (from the Bible). She went on to tell me that god was just testing my faith like Job, and that he wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. This was probably the conversation that ultimately made me lose faith. I felt like I’d already been tested enough in the barely 17 years that I’d been alive, after all I lived in a group home at the time because I’d been removed from my parents. That’s what this story reminds me of….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s