Quotes from The Chosen

Chaim Potok ·  304 pages

Rating: (75.7K votes)


“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.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye?

I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life.

It is hard work to fill one's life with meaning. That I do not think you understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“As you grow older you will discover that the most important things that will happen to you will often come as a result of silly things, as you call them --"ordinary things" is a better expression. That is the way the world is.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“No one knows he is fortunate until he becomes unfortunate, that's the way the world is.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“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.
...
You have to want to listen to it, and then you can hear it. It has a strange, beautiful texture. It doesn't always talk. Sometimes - sometimes it cries, and you can hear the pain of the world in it. It hurts to listen to it then. But you have to.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen



“A man is born into this world with only a tiny spark of goodness in him. The spark is God, it is the soul; the rest is ugliness and evil, a shell. The spark must be guarded like a treasure, it must be nurtured, it must be fanned into flame. It must learn to seek out other sparks, it must dominate the shell. Anything can be a shell, Reuven. Anything. Indifference, laziness, brutality, and genius. Yes, even a great mind can be a shell and choke the spark.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“Reuven listen to me. The Talmud says that a person should do two things for himself. One is to acquire a teacher. Do you remember the other."
"Choose a friend," I said.
"Yes. You know what a friend is, Reuven? A Greek philosopher said that two people who are true friends are like two bodies with one soul."
I nodded.
"Reuven, if you can, make Danny Saunders your friend."
"I like him a lot, abba."
"No. Listen to me. I am not talking about only liking him. I am telling you to make him your friend and to let him make you his friend.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“He taught them that the purpose of a man is to make his life holy--every aspect of his life: eating, drinking praying, sleeping. God is everywhere, he told them, and if it seems at times that He is hidden from us, it is only because we have not yet learned to seek Him correctly.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“If a person has a contribution to make, he must make it in public. If learning is not made public, it is a waste.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen



“I went away and cried to the Master of the Universe, "What have you done to me? A mind like this I need for a son? A heart I need for a son, a soul I need for a son, compassion I want from my son, righteousness, mercy, strength to suffer and carry pain, that I want from my son, not a mind without a soul!”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye? . . .I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“Reuven, as you grow older you will discover that the most important thing that will happen to you will often come as a result of silly things, as you call them- "ordinary things" is a better expression. That is the way the world is.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“The blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“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.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen



“Honest differences of opinion should never be permitted to destroy a friendship, he told me. "Haven't you learned that yet, Reuven?”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“The silence became unreal and seemed suddenly filled with a noise of its own, the noise of a too long silence.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“And then I was crying too, crying with Danny, silently, for his pain and for the years of his suffering, knowing that I loved him, and not knowing whether I hated or loved the long, anguished years of his life.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“Do you know what I don't understand about that ball game? I don't understand why I wanted to kill you.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity...a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant...A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen



“Someone was playing piano nearby and the music drifted slowly in and out of my mind like the ebb and flow of ocean surf. i almost recognized the melody, but i could not be sure, it slipped like a cool and silken wind from my grasp.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“A word is worth one coin, silence is worth two”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“...a blink of an eye in itself is nothing.But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant...”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing, But the man who lves that span, he is something… A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one’s life with meaning.”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen


“I have always had this sense of books as lined up and waiting, patiently waiting, for people to find them;”
― Chaim Potok, quote from The Chosen



About the author

Chaim Potok
Born place: in Buffalo, New York, The United States
Born date February 17, 1929
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