The Chosen Chapter 14
The rest of the semester passed without a word or motion from Danny to Reuven. Mr. Malter's health is persistently in question, and despite his opposing views with Reb Saunders, he continues to defend him. The silence angers Reuven so much that his bitterness grows into intense hatred for Reb Saunders. His mind is consumed with hatred and anger, causing his grades to suffer. Finally, Reuven makes a conscious decision to forget Danny altogether and not allow more of his grades to fall.
Reb Saunders and the stark anti-Zionists lead a rally, not as popular as the Zionist one, but somewhat effective nonetheless. They begin even a boycott of a Jewish goyim stores and businesses. Only when the Messiah comes will there be a Jewish homeland.
Reuven's attempt to forget Danny is difficult, for he is moved up to Rav Gershenson's Talmud class, where Danny is a strong presence. He dreads the silence between his named being called and his ability or lack thereof to answer the questions correctly. Danny always answers everyone's questions correctly and quickly and their classroom debates dominated Talmud class. Still, Danny never makes verbal contact with Reuven. However, his facial expressions and glances show Reuven that he cares and is hurting just as much.
Mr. Malter continues to lose weight and spend more time on the Zionist cause, until he gives another massive speech in Madison Square Garden. This time Reuven is able to attend and cries when he sees his small father become such a giant in the community. Reb Saunders' anti-Zionist group continues to distribute pamphlets and champion their cause. Finally, in November, the United Nations votes to give the Jews Palestine, and the Malter men embrace with joy and tears. Soon after the Jewish state is declared, Arabs attack Jews in Tel Aviv and more blood is shed. The turmoil continues and questions arise as to whether or not it is true and right to have a Jewish state.
While the chaos ensues in both America and Palestine, Mr. Malter suffers another near-fatal heart attack. Reuven stays at home alone this time, with the help of Manya in the mornings and evenings. Despite Reuven's straight A report card in school, he is lonely and sad. Danny offers whatever consolation he can:
"The look on Danny's face, though, when I saw him for the first time, helped a little. He passed me in the hallway, his face a suffering mask of pain and compassion. I thought for a moment he would speak to me, but he didn't. Instead, he brushed against me and managed to touch my hand for a second. His touch and his eyes spoke the words that his lips couldn't. I told myself it was bitter and ironic that my father needed to have a heart attack in order for some contact to be established once again between myself and Danny." Chapter 14, p. 241
While Mr. Malter lay in the hospital, Reuven lives alone and spends his evenings studying Talmud incessantly. He knows that Rav Gershenson will call upon him in class for a specific difficult passage, and studies it with all his might. Rav Gershenson does call on him and Reuven spends an hour and a half explaining a slight passage, and goes on for three days, causing silence and awe throughout the class. This display goes on for days until Rav Gershenson calls him to his desk after class one day. He wonders if Reuven studies with his father, a man he considers to be a great scholar and teacher. Reuven tells him that his father is in the hospital and he currently studies alone. Rav Gershenson will call upon Reuven more often in class, now that he knows that Reuven understands the material, but he must never use the same type of explanation in class again. Reuven understands what Rav Gershenson says clearly and leaves to look up his name in the library.