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Sacrifice in The Chosen Essay


Parents often sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their children. In the novel, The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, Reb Saunders, a Hasidic rabbi, sacrifices his relationship with his son Danny. Danny doesnt want to follow in his fathers footsteps and become a rabbi and tzaddik. After many years of struggling, Reb announces to his sons friend Reuven, Let my Daniel be a psychologist. I have no more fear now. All his life he will be a tzaddik. He will be a tzaddik for the world. And the world needs a tzaddik (280). Reb now knows that Danny will be a great psychologist and will still have the understanding of a tzaddik.

Danny is a brilliant young man who doesnt want to take over the obligatory position of tzaddik from his father. He wants to be a psychologist. Reb always knew that Danny would not have a strong connection to the Hasidic sect and would need to move on with his life.

When Danny was four years old, his father stopped talking to him except during the study of Talmud. Danny explains to Reuven why his father decided to raise him in silence and what he hoped Danny would accomplish from this. Reb told Danny, to close my mouth and look into my soul. He told me to stop running to him every time I had a problem. I should look into my own soul for the answer, he said. (170). We just dont talk, Reuven. (170). As a young boy, Danny felt no compassion for the suffering of others, no empathy and no sense of sadness. Reb felt that the teaching of silence was the only way for Danny to learn to understand other peoples pain and to redeem his soul. Danny will be a tzaddik for the world, because he will always have the soul of a true leader and the compassion for others. He has learned this from the silence.

Reb support Dannys career choice because he knows that Danny has learned the same lesson that his father gave him, He taught me with silenceto look into myself, to find my own strength, to walk around inside myself in company with my soulOne learns of the pain of others by suffering ones own painby turning inside ones selfIt makes us aware of how frail and tiny we are and how much we must depend upon the Master of the Universe. (278). Reb no long has any fear. Danny is capable of becoming a good psychologist because he has learned the lesson. His younger son Levi, who was sickly as a young child, is now healthy and will be able to take over as the next tzaddik.

Reuven doesnt understand why Rev would want to raise his son in silence. His father explains to him, His face was sad. A father can bring up a child any way he wishes, he said softly. What a price to pay for a soul. (257). Both Reb and Dannys souls paid the price. Reb had to sacrifice having a close relationship with Danny to teach him the lesson of silence. The close relationship that Reuven and his father had was what Danny wanted to have with his father. After so many years of only talking to his son through Reuven and during the study of Talmud, this burden had stressed and aged him, he sat stooped forward, bent, as though he was carrying something on his shouldershis dark eyes brooded and burned with some kind of invisible suffering. (274). Reb feels the strain of the non-verbal relationship with Danny and suffered for many years in silence. His task as a father is complete and the burden and suffering is finally over. He is not only freeing his son from his control, but is now freeing him self. Parents must often sacrifice their happiness or best interests to help their children succeed.

The sacrifices that parents make for their children, always has a price. The good parent will give of themselves so their children will have the best experiences and opportunities. In the book, So Far from the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Kawashima Watkins, Yoko and her sister Kos mother sacrificed her needs for her children. During the long journey escaping from North Korea and trying to return to Japan, she always gave them most of her food and her coat and blanket so they wouldnt be as hungry or cold. She felt that education was most important. With the little money she had, she enrolled them in school and paid for their tuition so they could finish school for the year. Then, she left them briefly to try to locate her parents so that they could have a better life. Her parents were dead and their home was destroyed. She returned heartbroken and weary and died in Yokos arms.

Another example of a parent giving of themselves to help their child is in the book, Wolf Brother, by Michelle Paver. Toraks father took him away from the Wolf Clan so that he could teach him the most important survival skills. His father was a soul-eater and knew one day the Beast would come to kill him. Even though Torak would have been happier living amongst the Clan, he took him away so he could prepare to live in solidarity when the time came. It was a difficult lesson for Torak to learn, but when his father was killed by the Beast, he knew how to survive.

My mom sacrifices for me every weekend during ski season. She doesnt like to ski. She drives to Tahoe in the heavy traffic on Friday nights and back in the heavy traffic on Sunday nights, quite often in snow storms. She does it just for me. I love ski racing so much and she takes me to Tahoe because she sees how happy it makes me feel.

As I have become older, I am so much more aware of how much my parents do for me and realize that they are preparing me for experiences and opportunities that I will encounter later on in life. Sometimes the sacrifices that parents make are barely noticed, taken for granted or resented. Danny resented his father for the painful silent relationship, but realized the gift his father had given him.

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