The Chosen Chapter 18
Reuven walks to Danny's house after such a long absence and realizes its age and weariness. He recalls meeting Reb Saunders, the praying, studying, importance of friendship, and ultimately walks to see his friend. Although Reb Saunders' study has changed in the year he has not seen him, the tzaddik has changed greatly. His beard is now almost entirely gray and he speaks to Reuven as a man, not a boy. After asking about Reuven's future, he remembers that Reuven plans to be a rabbi. With difficulty, Reb Saunders thinks about the two boys - now men - going different ways.
Reb Saunders begins to weep as he talks to Danny through Reuven. He uses the corporeal body of Danny's friend in order to explain his emotions and his deep trauma with having a son with such a brilliant mind, comparing Danny to his beloved and tortured brother. During his long speech, he finally speaks about the silence in which he has brought up his beloved son.
"Reuven, the Master of the Universe blessed me with a brilliant son. And he cursed me with all the problems of raising him. Ah, what it is to have a brilliant son! Not a smart son, Reuven, but a brilliant son, a Daniel, a boy with a mind like a jewel...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." Chapter 18, p. 276-7
He teaches his son to develop a soul through the silence of a tzaddik. Although he realizes now that his son must live his own life, he is happy that his soul is that of a tzaddik, a learned noble man. Despite the years of suffering and silence, Reuven sees the mutual respect and love between the estranged father and son on their moment of truth. He blesses the almighty and thanks his for bringing Reuven and his father to his son Danny, for he knows that they have incredible souls. From his own experience of silence with his father, Reb Saunders' reaches Reuven:
"For years his silence bewildered and frightened me, though I always trusted him, I never hated him. And when I was old enough to understand, he told me that of all people a tzaddik especially must know of pain. A tzaddik must know how to suffer for his people, he said. He must take their pain from them and carry it on his own shoulders. He must carry it always." Chapter 18, p.278
He understands that his son will be a tzaddik as a psychologist. For the first time, Reb Saunders speaks to his son, asking him about his future and whether or not he will remain a religious Jew in dress and observance. Danny will cut off his ear locks and shave his beard, but will still practice all the commandments. Embracing the change, Reb Saunders cries out that his son is now free. He apologizes for not being a wise father - he has always loved his son dearly, but perhaps has not known how to raise him. After his father leaves the room, Danny weeps. Reuven holds Danny, and they weep together for the years of friendship, years of silence, pain and suffering.
Reuven tells his father everything at home that evening, still disagreeing with silence as a method of childrearing. During Shabbat morning services, Reb Saunders announces the entrance of Danny into psychology graduate school, to much commotion and shock. However, despite the congregation's shock, the inheritance happily goes to Levi, the younger brother. The two boys graduate from Hirsch College Summa Cum Laude.
Danny visits Reuven to say goodbye before he leaves for Columbia. He now has no beard or ear locks and looks like a different person, despite the piercing blue eyes that remain the same. Reuven wonders if Danny will raise his own sons in silence one day. Danny says he will do so if he can find no other way. He walks away, hungry for the discovery of psychology and the unknown life of the future.