The Chosen Quotes

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The Chosen Quotes

Quote 1: "For the first fifteen years of our lives, Danny and I lived within five blocks of each other and neither of us knew of the other's existence." Chapter 1, p.11

Quote 2: "There were fifteen of them, and they were dressed alike in white shirts, dark pants, white sweaters, and small black skullcaps. In the fashion of the very Orthodox, their hair was closely cropped, except for the areas near their ears from which mushroomed the untouched hair that tumbled down into the long side curls. Some of them had the beginnings of beards, straggly tufts of hair that stood in isolated clumps on their chins, jawbones, and upper lips. They all wore the traditional undergarments beneath their shirts, and the tzitzit, the long fringes appended to the four corners of the garment, came out above their belts and swung against their pants a they walked. These were the very Orthodox, and they obeyed literally the Biblical commandment[s]." Chapter 1, p. 16

Quote 3: "Burn in hell, you apikorsim!" Chapter 1, p. 31

Quote 4: "I moved my wrist slowly. It still hurt. That Danny Saunders was a smart one, and I hated him. I wondered what he was thinking now. Probably gloating and bragging about the ball game to his friends. That miserable Hasid!" Chapter 2, p. 46

Quote 5: "I lay still and thought about my eyes. I had always taken them for granted, the way I took for granted all the rest of my body and also my mind. My father had told me many times that health was a gift, but I never really paid much attention to the fact that I was rarely sick or almost never had to go to a doctor." Chapter 1, p.57

Quote 6: "'You must remember what the Talmud says. If a person comes to apologize for having hurt you, you must listen and forgive him...What I tried to tell you, Reuven, is that when a person comes to talk to you, you should be patient and listen.'" Chapter 3, p. 68

Quote 7: "I looked at him [Danny], and suddenly I had the feeling that everything around me was out of focus...And here was Danny Saunders talking English, and what he was saying and the way he was saying it just didn't seem to fit in with the way he was dressed, with the side curls on his face and the fringes hanging down below his dark jacket." Chapter 3, p. 72

Quote 8: "He told me once he wishes everyone could talk in silence." Chapter 3, p. 76

Quote 9: "'No one knows he is fortunate until he becomes unfortunate,' my father said quietly. 'That's the way the world is.'" Chapter 4, p.78

 Quote 10: "I'm all mixed up about you. I'm not trying to be funny or anything. I really am mixed up about you. You look like a Hasid, but you don't sound like one. You don't sound like what my father says Hasidim are supposed to sound like. You sound almost as if you don't believe in God." Chapter 4, p.86

Quote 11: "The Hassidim believed that the tzaddik was a superhuman link between themselves and God." Chapter 6, p. 111

Quote 12: "Now, Reuven, listen very carefully to what I am going to tell you. Reb Saunders' son is a terribly torn and lonely boy. There is literally no one in the world he can talk to. He needs a friend. The accident with the baseball has bound him to you, and he has already sensed in you someone he can talk to without fear." Chapter 6, p. 113

Quote 13: "We were almost halfway through the crowd now, walking slowly together, Danny's fingers on the part of my arm just over the elbow. I felt myself naked and fragile, an intruder, and my eyes, searching for anything but the bearded faces to look at, settled, finally, upon the sidewalk at my feet." Chapter 7, p. 124

Quote 14: "The silence that followed had a strange quality to it: expectation, eagerness, love, awe." Chapter 7, p. 128

Quote 15: " 'Later we will talk more. I want to know my son's friend. Especially the son of David Malter.'" Chapter 7, p.130

Quote 16: "I just couldn't get it through my head that Danny had to go through something like that every week, and that I myself had gone through it tonight...I had clearly passed the test. What a ridiculous way to gain admiration and friendship!" Chapter 7, p. 143

Quote 17: "If a person has a contribution to make, he must make it in public. If learning is not made in public, it is a waste. But the business about the mistakes I never heard before." Chapter 7, p. 149

Quote 18: "He was reading with phenomenal speed. I could almost see him read. He would start at the head of a page, his head tilted slightly upward, and then his head would move downward in a straight line until he got to the foot of the page." Chapter 8, p. 153

Quote 19: "I saw frozen and felt a long moment of blind panic. What my father had anticipated was now actually happening. But he hadn't anticipated it happening to me. He had thought Reb Saunders would confront him, not me. My father and I had acted behind Reb Saunders' back; now Reb Saunders was asking me to act behind Danny's back. I didn't know what to say." Chapter 8, p.167

Quote 20: "I found myself crying too, an felt a gnawing emptiness, as though I had been scraped clean inside and there was nothing in me now but a terrible darkness. I was feeling as though it had been my father who had died." Chapter 11, p. 187

Quote 21: "'Six million of our people have been slaughtered,' he went on quietly. 'It is inconceivable. It will have meaning only if we give it meaning. We cannot wait for God...There is only one Jewry left now in the world...It is here in America. We have a terribly responsibility. We must replace the treasures we have lost...A madman has destroyed our treasures. If we do not rebuild Jewry in America, we will die as a people.'" Chapter 11, p. 192

Quote 22: "God will build the land, not Ben Gurion and his goyim! When the Messiah comes, we will have Eretz Yisroel, a Holy Land, not a land contaminated by Jewish goyim!" Chapter 12, p. 198

Quote 23: "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

Quote 24: "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

Quote 25: "It seemed so incredible to me, so outrageously absurd. Not Freud but Zionism had finally shattered our friendship." Chapter 13, p.231

Quote 26: "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

Quote 27: "That was all he said. Not a word about Zionism. Not a word about the silence he had imposed upon Danny and me. Nothing. I found I disliked him more when I left than when I had entered. I did not see him again that July." Chapter 16, p. 261

Quote 28: "'You can listen to silence, Reuven. I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. And I can hear it.'" Chapter 17, p. 262

Quote 29: "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

Quote 30: "For years his silence bewildered and frightened me, though I always trusted him, I never hated him. And when I was hold 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

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