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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.
In a passionate, energetic narrative, The Promise brilliantly dramatizes what it is to master and use knowledge to make one’s own way in the world
slower now. He kept rubbing his hands against his thighs. Then, suddenly, he stopped swaying and looked up, all of him rigid, his eyes wide, bulging, staring at me. “I didn’t—I didn’t want to hurt them. I was—afraid. God, I’m afraid. I don’t want to—hurt them. I hate them. I hate them!” I saw his head stiff, and the veins standing out on his thin neck. I saw his head trembling, shaking and trembling. I saw him turn it in a single sudden motion toward his parents. “I hate you!” he screamed, the
I would throw it once and get it over with. I had never held a dice cup in my hand before. I turned it over quickly. The balls scattered across the white board, five of them landing in holes, the remaining three coming to rest against the outer frame of the board. The pitchman’s fingers moved swiftly over the board as he tallied up the numbers and nudged each ball from its hole. I had made a total of forty-three. The pitchman consulted the card. Number forty-three was worth five points. “That’s
Then I’ll ask you to wait in the living room. Would you do that, please?” I went through the living room and along the corridor, past the door to Danny’s office, and into the men’s room. I brushed the dirt and the leaves from my clothes, then collected the leaves and flushed them down a toilet. The men’s room was tiled and very clean and there were fluorescent lights on the ceiling. I wet a paper towel and raised my right trouser leg and saw a three-inch scrape that had bled and dried and was
slowly became what he called the ‘brain-cracking loneliness of solitary confinement.’ Those are his words. Let’s see.” Danny was silent a moment. Then he began to quote from memory. “ ‘At home I usually awaken instantly, in full possession of my faculties. But that’s not the case here. It takes me some minutes to collect my wits; I seem to be groping in the cold reaches of interstellar space, lost and bewildered.’ Somewhere else he says, ‘Now when I laugh, I laugh inside; for I seem to have
impossible to be physically close to him. I had never in my life come across a man who was so zealous a guardian of Torah that he did not care whom or how he destroyed in its defense. I had never thought Torah could create so grotesque a human being. “You have thought of what we talked about, Malter?” I nodded. “And?” I told him I would prefer to discuss it another time. “Another time,” he said. “When?” I told him soon. “We have a lot to talk about, Malter. It should be very soon.” He