The Chosen: Book Two

The Chosen by Chaim Potok (Amazon Link)

At the beginning of this section of the book, the narrator’s father describes the origin of Hasidim. It originated with a guy who walked through the woods and meditated on ideas. He came back, enlightened and taught the people. A cross between Jesus and Buddha. I think Rufus got it right when he said that the problem with religion is that we took a good idea and built a belief structure on it. Generations took Hasidim and it changed. The position of rabbi in the communities is hereditary. But the rabbi is the link between the people and their god. Do they believe that God is such an entity that the lay person, one who has not been to rabbinical school, is not capable of talking to God? It was said that God hears them when they study the Talmud. Maybe the answer to my previous question is the affirmative. I can’t imagine being part of a religion where I am not seen as fit to converse with my own deity.

One of the problems, it seems, with being a Hasidim is that while they are experts in the Talmud and it’s interpretations, they have little knowledge of anything else. They are pure, in a sense. Danny wants his world to be bigger than just Judaism, which I can understand. And Reuven can’t figure out why it’s such a bad thing to be worldly. Honestly, I don’t understand either why reading is such a bad thing. Although, for many people it’s hard to see how religion and science can reside in the same mind and one not take precedence over the other. Since the way people view the Bible and possibly the Torah (I’m not going to make a blanket statement here because I don’t know) is as law. One can’t believe in science and be religious because the science negates religion. Minus the fact that a myth is a story to explain something that cannot be explained — and there is scientific evidence that supports the theory of evolution. The book is the end-all-be-all and any other suggestion is sacrilege. Maybe that’s why Danny’s father is so upset that Danny is reading philosophy.

The Bible is merely a suggestion, a guide if you will. Its word can’t be law because then its law is contradictory.

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