No Matter How Unjust And Undeserved Suffering Essay

No Matter How Unjust And Undeserved Suffering Essay

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No matter how unjust and undeserved suffering may seem, its nature is an inevitable evil that manifests itself in every stage of life. Chaim Potok explores this concept through Reuven Malter, one of the two protagonists in The Chosen. On account of a severe injury to Reuven’s eye, he becomes acquainted with Danny Saunders, heir to the Rabbinic position held by his father, Reb Saunders, in his Hasidic Jewish community. Shortly after the incident, Danny attempts to reconcile with a hospitalized Reuven, whose initial reluctance quickly progresses into acceptance. From that moment, the two establish a powerful bond in which they each serve as emotional vessels for the other as they struggle through their own personal instances of suffering. Reuven’s refreshed mentality when deciding to forgive Danny reshapes and improves his perception of the greater world, enabling him to more empathetically examine the rationale of suffering in not only Danny’s life, but of all humankind.
Reuven’s initial inability to view Danny as an individual with ambitions and beliefs beyond Hasidism develops from his generalized and bitter predisposition towards the Hasidic Jewish community. The rift between Reuven and Danny is first illustrated minutes prior to the baseball game, where Reuven describes Danny as possessing an arrogant sense of righteousness, despite the two having not physically or verbally interacted prior (Potok 12). This reveals Reuven’s tendency to prematurely conclude the behaviors and motives of those with a Hasidic background based on his own preconceptions, instead of recognizing the thoughts and opinions specific to the individual. During the first conversation with his father after sustaining his injury, Reuven expresses intense disg...


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...lize this method when raising his own children (Potok 285). Through Reb Saunders’ explanation and ability to retain an open viewpoint on the world, Reuven accepts that not all suffering is senseless; while it is certainly devastating, it is a necessary evil for shaping the morality of an individual.
Reuven’s forgiveness of Danny enhances his perceptions of the world, which enables him to further question the justification for the suffering in both Danny’s life, and that of greater humankind. From his broadened perspective, Reuven’s empathy for the suffering of others grows significantly. While he struggles to grasp and appropriately handle the morality behind suffering initially, through Danny, he comes to realize that struggling in life is inevitable. Though at first glance, suffering seems as only senseless misery, it is essential for shaping the integrity of all.

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