55 pages 1 hour read

Chaim Potok

The Chosen

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1967

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Book 2, Chapters 5-7Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 2, Chapter 5 Summary

Reuven lives in a brownstone with tall sycamore trees in front, and Manya, the Russian housekeeper, greets him with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Reuven and his dad eat a huge lunch, then his dad works on his article, and Reuven goes to his room, where he has maps to follow the war campaigns. He also has a picture of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45) and the 20th-century scientist Albert Einstein.

Book 2, Chapter 6 Summary

Reuven asks about Danny, and his dad replies with a history of Hasidism. In the 13th century, while most of Europe persecuted the Jews, struggling Poland embraced them, and the Jews became integral to Poland’s success. Since the Jews were aligned with the wealthy, the less well-off people resented the Jews. In 1648, the Cossacks (Greek Orthodox people from southern Russia and Ukraine) and Polish peasants spearheaded an “uprising,” destroying 700 Jewish communities and killing 100,000 Jews.

As disaster supposedly signals the arrival of the Messiah, people believed the Messiah was on its way, and the Jews fasted and prayed to quicken the Messiah’s arrival. Judaism devolved, and the discourse became pilpul (tedious and fussy).

To fill the vacuum, some Jews claimed they could dispel demons.