The Promise. Chaim Potok.


After reading “The Chosen” a few weeks ago, I had to follow with another Potok book, and of course went with “The Promise,” which is somewhat of a sequel.  (More just a follow-on book with the same characters later in life than a sequel.)

Two main points stuck me:

  1. the portrayal of different father-son relationships. (How one was so close, at least in terms of studying Talmud but additionally in seeking each other out for guidance and discussion in the struggles of life, while others were strained in various ways.)
  2. the amazing study of their faith as part of a lifelong journey — but so much more dedicated and in depth than what is typical today, at least in the part of society I see around me

Some quotes that are all mostly self explanatory (And I’ve bolded one I that has resonated with me the most recently):

  • “What energies we waste fighting one another…”
  • “It’s always easier to learn something than to use what you’ve learned.”
  • “You understand what it is to make a choice…?  A choice tells the world what is most important to a human being.  When a man has a choice to make he chooses what is most important to him, and that choice tells the world what kind of man he is.”
  • “A person must know who he is.  A person must understand himself, improve himself, learn his weaknesses in order to overcome them.  It is hard for a person to understand hi own weaknesses…”
  • “The Master of the Universe has so created the world that everything that can be good can also be evil.  It is mankind that makes a thing good or evil … depending on how we use the wonders we have been given.”
  • “…men hesitate to talk to their fathers.  A boy always wishes to be able to talk to his father.  And a father waits for the boy to become a man so they can talk as men.  And then the boy becomes a man and no longer needs the father.  It is a strange thing.”
  • “That is the way the world is… Each generation thinks it fights new battles.  But the battles are the same.  Only the people are different.”

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