Anticipation

I’m so excited.  

Either the summer before or after my freshman year of high school, I was handed one of those lists of books that every well educated person should read.  You’ve all probably seen one of these at one point or another in your life.  Like a dope, I decided to try and read them all over the summer.  I didn’t get through all of them, but I made it through quite a few of them.
One of them was The Chosen, by Chaim Potok.  This unassuming book sparked a lifelong fascination – no, fascination sounds too clinical.  A lifetime love and affinity for Orthodox Judaism.  In the hushed tones of that story, a world unfolded to me.  A world full of profound loss and sorrow – so much greater and deeper than my own adolescent agonies.  And yet in the midst of that sorrow and loss, despite the echoes of pogroms and dreams dashed and looted, there was hope and beauty and even glory.  I was awestruck at how profoundly the study of the Torah could affect someone.  I compared it with the laughingstock of a Confirmation class that I had endured at my church, and I realized how much more these people cherished the Word of God than I.  
I went on to read as many of Potok’s works as I could discover in a pre-Internet world, encouraged in part by a College Prep Literature class and teacher in my sophomore year of high school – Mrs. Nicolls.  She, too, loved Potok, and so we shared this odd bond, and I could sense her equal joy in his works as I discovered them for myself, or passed on a more recent work of his for her to enjoy.
So on an outing to our massive public library the other day, I stopped into the used bookstore and found a copy of perhaps Potok’s last novel before he died in 2002, Old Men at Midnight.  I stashed it away on our bookcase as I was already in the midst of three other books. But having just finished two of those, I went to the bookshelf to pick up a new book, and was delighted to find this book that I had forgotten purchasing.  I can’t wait to dive into it, to see if the simple words that captivated me so long ago could still weave their spell of amazement on me now.  
I love reading!
P.S. – in looking up the precise year of Potok’s death on Wikipedia, I was surprised to learn how many books he had actually written – at least half of which I never knew about.  Looks like I’m going to have lots of reading fun in the coming months & years!  I also noticed he wrote a series on Jewish Ethics that I’m going to have to find and try to purchase!  

One Response to “Anticipation”

  1. Book Review – Heschel | Living Apologetics Says:

    […] is also beautifully written, full of Heschel’s poetic voice that at times rivals another favorite Jewish author of mine, Chaim Potok.  Heschel made me think about the prophets as human beings, […]

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