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The Promise (1969)

por Chaim Potok

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: The Chosen (2)

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2,201287,081 (4.06)173
Reuven Malter lives in Brooklyn, he's in love, and he's studying to be a rabbi. He also keeps challenging the strict interpretations of his teachers, and if he keeps it up, his dream of becoming a rabbi may die. One day, worried about a disturbed, unhappy boy named Michael, Reuven takes him sailing and cloud-watching. Reuven also introduces him to an old friend, Danny Saunders--now a psychologist with a growing reputation. Reconnected by their shared concern for Michael, Reuven and Danny each learns what it is to take on life--whether sacred truths or a troubled child--according to his own lights, not just established authority. --From publisher's description.… (mais)
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I knew this was going to seem dated, but I picked it up anyway because I'd heard of the author quite a while ago and never got around to reading any of his works. It was fairly interesting as I was learning about a culture (Jews in NY in the 1950's--a time when survivors from the concentration camps were trying to restart their lives in America) that I had only gotten glimpses of from my friends. Reuven's challenge is to remain respectful to his Talmud teacher, who is very rigid in his expectations of Jews maintaining their traditions, and to accept the love of his platonic girl friend Rachel for his best friend Danny.. It was intriguing to read about a society in which a grad student acts with love/respect/attention toward his father, spends his spare time doing logic problems in his head, has memorized scads of medieval tracts and religious documents and can hold his own in an argument about them. I can understand, in some measure, his dissatisfaction with traditional ritual countered by his belief. Potok generally did a good job of translating Hebrew or Yiddish terms within the text, but I admit I sometimes forgot the meaning the next time that word came up. Potok also gave me an excellent understanding of the different strains of Judaisim, and how WWII experience reinforced some aspects. "They were the remnants, the zealous guardians of the spark...and no one at Hirsch would fight them because the spark was precious, it was all that was left after the blood and the slaughter, and you dimmed it when you fought its defenders." (p.195-6)
Potok gives me more to think about when these grad students are discussing "The Death of a Salesman", where the 'hero' of this modern tragedy is the common man. "That's what life is all about, the way we cheat and hurt each other and still try to live together somehow." "A person can do one of two things [when everything he works for is cracking apart]assuming that he isn't [delusional]. He can stay inside his world and try to reshape it somehow, or he can leave it and make his life over again elsewhere. Either choice involves further suffering, but it would be a creative suffering that might ultimately give rise to something worthwhile....He could, of course, try to destroy his world and then attempt to build a new world out of the rubble. But it probably wouldn't work. No modern revolution ever really succeeded." (p.282) "Why are people so full of rage? [Would a lecture help?] ...It would begin to teach you how to become aware of yourself. That's what the soul is...the crust is self-delusion. The soul is self-awareness." (p.283)
And more thoughts to ponder from an older man (is this his rationalization of his own behavior, or a general truth?): "Rebellion...is a conscious act of the will directed toward the remolding of ideas or institutions whether by force or by persuasion. Turning one's back upon ideas or institutions is therefore not an act of rebellion but an act of disengagement. The old is considered dead." (p.295)
Or this statement by the Director "The concentration camps destroyed a lot more than European Jewry. They destroyed man's faith in himself...There are going to be decades of chaos until we learn to believe again in man." (p.315) And Reuven's father's comment on the Hasidic Jews "Will new ideas enable them to go on singing and dancing?" (p.325)
There is also an entanglement with Rachel's cousin Michael, a 14-yr old with emotional problems, being treated by Danny. This aspect of the book seemed more contrived. Michael is described early on as "precocious", but he seems immature to 14-yr olds nowadays. The resolution of that situation seems rather lame, but I found the psychoanalytical jargon interesting to read about as a kind of cultural artifact. ( )
  juniperSun | Sep 7, 2022 |
Young Reuven Malter is unsure of himself and his place in life. An unconventional scholar, he struggles for recognition from his teachers. With his old friend Danny Saunders—who himself had abandoned the legacy as the chosen heir to his father's rabbinical dynasty for the uncertain life of a healer — Reuven battles to save a sensitive boy imprisoned by his genius and rage. Painfully, triumphantly, Reuven's understanding of himself, though the boy change, as he starts to approach the peace he has long sought.
  Daniel464 | Oct 11, 2021 |
L'amicizia di Reuven Malter e Danny Saunders si misura sul terreno dell'amore per Rachel, una giovane anglista, e delle loro scelte di vita: mentre uno studia per diventare rabbino affrontando l'insegnamento sarcastico e devastante di Rav Kalman, l'altro rinuncia agli studi religiosi per diventare psichiatra (fonte: Google Books)
  MemorialeSardoShoah | May 26, 2020 |
This continues Reuven and Danny's story from The Chosen. Reuven's at Hirsch University studying to be a rabbi, and Danny's is studying to be a psychologist while interning at a mental hospital.They’re both interested in Rachel, the attractive daughter of a liberal analyst of the Talmud (his writings are considered a danger to Orthodoxy), and both become involved with her troubled nephew Michael, who ends up in the mental hospital where Danny is. Reuven has to square off against his teacher Reb Kalman, a Holocaust-survivor fiercely attached to established views of the Talmud, and opposed to more progressive views of Reuven and Reuven's learned father. Kalman has the power to deny Reuven his becoming a Rabbi, and that battle is high energy. I liked that story thread a good bit more than Michael's.

The second half of the book was much more involving, and the book ended up being a very good read, even if it falls short of the exceptional The Chosen. The contrast between Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, and more progressive Jews is fascinating, and Potok is so good at steeping us in the conflicts. Here's a quote from Reuven as he reacts to being among the Hasidim:

"It was strange enough being on those streets during the week. But on Shabbat, when I could feel them making the very air tremulous with exultation, when I could see them in their respective garbs, most of them in fur-trimmed caps, some in dark suits, some in white knickers, all of them walking quickly, sometimes in groups, sometimes alone, sometimes the father accompanied by a troop of male children - on Shabbat it was particularly strange, and I felt myself to be an uncomfortable outsider who had somehow been transported to a world I once thought had only existed in the small towns of Eastern Europe or in books about Jewish history. They were my own people, but we were as far apart from one another as we could possibly be and still call ourselves by the name 'Jew' - and I never felt as distant from them as I felt that evening walking along Lee Avenue with my father to the synagogue where we prayed." ( )
  jnwelch | Jan 30, 2019 |
I couldn't put it down. I'm so glad Potok wrote a sequel for readers to spend in the company of (the main characters) Reuven and Danny. It's a spare book in many ways because of Reuven's focus on his studies. The relationships are just luminous and Potok is insightful as usual about the interplay between tradition, orthodoxy, modernity, and progress. ( )
  LauraBee00 | Mar 7, 2018 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (6 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Chaim Potokautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Moel, Ed deTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sollet, PeterTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it? Good God, we would also be happy if we had no books, and such books as make us happy we could, if need be, write ourselves. But what we must have are those books which come upon us like ill-fortune, and distress us deeply, like the death of one we love better than ourselves, like suicide. A book must be an ince-axe to break the sea frozen inside us.
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Master of the Universe, send us our Messiah, for we have no more strength to suffer. Show me a sign, O God. Otherwise...otherwise...I rebel against Thee. If Thou dost not keep Thy Covenant, then neither will I keep that Promise, and it is all over, we are through being Thy chosen people, Thy peculiar treasure.
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Reuven Malter lives in Brooklyn, he's in love, and he's studying to be a rabbi. He also keeps challenging the strict interpretations of his teachers, and if he keeps it up, his dream of becoming a rabbi may die. One day, worried about a disturbed, unhappy boy named Michael, Reuven takes him sailing and cloud-watching. Reuven also introduces him to an old friend, Danny Saunders--now a psychologist with a growing reputation. Reconnected by their shared concern for Michael, Reuven and Danny each learns what it is to take on life--whether sacred truths or a troubled child--according to his own lights, not just established authority. --From publisher's description.

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