The Chosen Chapter 13
Danny and Reuven begin college at Hirsch Seminary to mixed reviews. While Reuven excels and adores his abundant studies of mixed secular and orthodox Jewry, Danny suffers from stress and disappointment. He does not agree with the heavily weighed experimental psychology studies and prefers studying psychoanalysis and the human mind to rat mazes and blinking lights. He disagrees with his psychology professor, Nathan Appleman, and therefore receives a B for his first semester. However, while he seems to lie at a crossroads with the psychology department, he is a revered scholar in the Talmudic department, garnering praise from the top professor, Rav Gershenson, and serving as almost tzaddik to his fellow Hassidic students.
Danny and Reuven continue to debate over the use of science and logic in psychology. Danny is furious that Appleman calls the Freudian followers dogmatic, while Reuven defends the use of scientific testing in psychology. Reuven continues to study Talmud with his father on Saturdays instead of with Danny's family, and begins to learn a more scientific approach to the religious learning.
Mr. Malter, still thin and sickly, begins taking his teaching more seriously than before and lectures perpetually on the importance of Palestine as the Jewish homeland. "He had always prepared for his classes, but there was a kind of heaviness to the way he went about preparing now, writing everything down, rehearsing his notes aloud - as if he were trying to make certain that nothing of significance would remain unsaid, as if he felt the future hung on every idea he taught" Chapter 13, p. 213. Mr. Malter's heartfelt speech about starting a Jewish homeland and not waiting for the messiah anymore touches and concerns Reuven, for he still wants to be a rabbi. Although he wants Reuven to become a professor, he knows that America needs good rabbis. His thoughts on death and his own imminent mortality frighten Reuven and he wonders what his father would think about Reb Saunders' explosion against Zionism. Mr. Malter informs Reuven that Jack Rose, an unreligious, secular Jew has made a large contribution to the Jewish National Fund and that many more Jews like him will now begin attending synagogue more often. Reuven does not want synagogues full of these types of Jews, but nonetheless wants to help with this new wave of American Jewry.
One Friday afternoon, Reuven reads books on Psychology in the library and discovers the source of Danny's frustration. They barely mention Freud and sound precisely like his professor. "Poor Danny, I thought. Professor Appleman, with his experimental psychology, is torturing your mind. And your father, with his bizarre silence - which I still couldn't understand, no matter how often I thought about it - is torturing your soul" Chapter 13, p. 222.
The two boys discuss Psychology at lunch and Danny explodes at Reuven after he mentions the importance of both types of study. After Danny finally talks with Appleman for over an hour, he returns to apologize to Reuven over his temper. He now sees what Appleman means and wants to learn more, with the help of a mathematician - Reuven. He now reveres his professor and sees all the problems with his beloved Freud, despite his yearning to still learn more about him.
Mr. Malter's health continues to plummet, causing Reuven to worry on a daily basis. He is obsessed with the rally at which he is speaking on Zionism. The Zionist/anti-Zionist debate escalates in every outlet of society: school, home, friendship, with the two friends. Fights erupt in school comparing Zionists to Hitler, meanwhile Mr. Malter sleeps less and prepares for his rally at Madison Square Garden. Despite a snowstorm and nervousness, the speech is a tremendous success and is covered in every newspaper. The following day, Danny shuns Reuven and ignores him. He eventually talks to Reuven in the bathroom telling him that his father has excommunicated him and his father. Brokenhearted, Reuven cannot believe that his father allowed him to read so many books over the years and did not find problems. "It seemed so incredible to me, so outrageously absurd. Not Freud but Zionism had finally shattered our friendship" Chapter 13, p.231. Shunned by every Hasid in school and the community, Reuven complains to his father. Mr. Malter feels terrible for having both brought the two boys together and now torn them apart. However, he understands that it is Reb Saunders' fanaticism that has kept the Jews alive over two thousand years of persecution.