Synopsis: from the dust jacket
Just as The Chosen summoned up the depths of the commitment that loving fathers make for their sons, Chaim Potok's new novel evokes the promise that the young make to themselves, to their own lives--the obstacles life automatically interposes, and the strength, the intelligence, the daring that must constantly be brought to bear if the promise is to
They are young men now, the two boys whose growing up in Brooklyn, in a traditional world of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews, was told in The Chosen --and for each of them, as Chaim Potok's new novel opens, the commitment he has made to the tradition that nurtured him and to the future he has chosen hangs in the balance.
Reuven Malter, the gentle scholar's son, now studying to be a rabbi, is fiercely confronted and challenged in his vocation by a great but unbending teacher--the sarcastic, terrifying Rav Kalman, who defends unmitigated Orthodoxy with the same ruthlessness with which he fought for survival in the Nazi death camps.
The driven, magnetic Danny Saunders, who tore himself away from his destiny as a spiritual leader of the Hasids, is about to risk the brilliant beginnings of his career as a clinical psychologist--gambling his strange intuition against the established "orthodox" treatment--to save a young boy's sanity.
In scene after wonderful scene the novel follows the two young men through the season of their testing and moves toward its superb double climax: Reuven before the examiners who would deny him his ordination; Danny outside the locked room in which his patient must undergo the radical therapy he has invented--the agonizing and dangerous "therapy of silence."