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57 Great Quotes By Chaim Potok, The Renowned Jewish Rabbi And Author

Famous As: Author
Born On: February 17, 1929
Died On: July 23, 2002
Born In: Bronx, New York, United States
Died At Age: 73
Herman Harold Potok, who is better known as Chaim Potok, is a Jewish rabbi and author, who has risen to prominence not only as a religious figurehead but also as a bestselling novelist. Potok went through an orthodox Jewish education and aspired to be a writer right from the time that he was a teenager. In fact, he had sent a manuscript to the well-known magazine 'The Atlantic Monthly' when he was only 17. He graduated with a degree in English literature from Yeshiva University and during that time he was a regular contributor of stories to the university magazine. He attended the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and became a rabbi at the end of his 4 year course. He also served as the editor of Conservative Judaism magazine and also become the chief editor of Jewish Publication Society. As a novelist, he rose to prominence with the novel ‘The Chosen’ published in 1967 and it went to become a bestseller, selling millions of copies worldwide. Potok’s other notable works include ‘The Promise’, ‘Davita’s Harp’, ‘The Book of Lights’, ‘Jewish Ethics’, ‘The Gift of Asher Lev’ and ‘I Am The Clay’ among others. Here is a collection of Chaim Potok quotes on silence, literature, value, planning, life, love, silence, soul, friends, art, truth, Jewish, Judaism and integrity.
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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.

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
…everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.

…everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.

Chaim Potok
Something that is yours forever is never precious

Something that is yours forever is never precious

Chaim Potok
No one knows he is fortunate until he becomes unfortunate, that's the way the world is.

No one knows he is fortunate until he becomes unfortunate, that's the way the world is.

Chaim Potok
Two people who are true friends are like two bodies with one soul

Two people who are true friends are like two bodies with one soul

Chaim Potok
Art is whether or not there is a scream in him wanting to get out in a special way.

Art is whether or not there is a scream in him wanting to get out in a special way.

Chaim Potok
Art begins . . . when someone interprets, when someone sees the world through his own eyes. Art happens when what is seen becomes mixed with the inside of the person who is seeing it.

Art begins . . . when someone interprets, when someone sees the world through his own eyes. Art happens when what is seen becomes mixed with the inside of the person who is seeing it.

Chaim Potok
It's not a pretty world, Papa.'
'I've noticed,' my father said softly.

It's not a pretty world, Papa.' 'I've noticed,' my father said softly.

Chaim Potok
Seeds must be sown everywhere. Only some will bear fruit. But there would not be the fruit from the few had the many not been sown

Seeds must be sown everywhere. Only some will bear fruit. But there would not be the fruit from the few had the many not been sown

Chaim Potok
I do not have many things that are meaningful to me. Except my doubts and my fears. And my art.

I do not have many things that are meaningful to me. Except my doubts and my fears. And my art.

Chaim Potok
A life is measured by how it is lived for the sake of heaven.

A life is measured by how it is lived for the sake of heaven.

Chaim Potok
If a person has a contribution to make, he must make it in public. If learning is not made public, it is a waste.

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
Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a 'universal' without patriotism, without home who has found his people everywhere.

Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a 'universal' without patriotism, without home who has found his people everywhere.

Chaim Potok
Oh, it makes a difference, I thought. And if it doesn't make a difference you will make it make a difference.

Oh, it makes a difference, I thought. And if it doesn't make a difference you will make it make a difference.

Chaim Potok
It is when you are angry that you must watch how you talk.

It is when you are angry that you must watch how you talk.

Chaim Potok
... an artist is a person first. He is an individual. If there is no person, there is no artist.

... an artist is a person first. He is an individual. If there is no person, there is no artist.

Chaim Potok
It's always easier to learn something than to use what you've learned. . . . You're alone when you're learning. But you always use it on other people. It's different when there are other people involved.

It's always easier to learn something than to use what you've learned. . . . You're alone when you're learning. But you always use it on other people. It's different when there are other people involved.

Chaim Potok
Art is a person's private vision expressed in aesthetic forms.

Art is a person's private vision expressed in aesthetic forms.

Chaim Potok
… the world will indulge you just so long Asher Lev. Then it will stop. You will simply have to grow accustomed to that truth.

… the world will indulge you just so long Asher Lev. Then it will stop. You will simply have to grow accustomed to that truth.

Chaim Potok
A choice tells the world what is most important to a human being. When a man has a choice to make he chooses what is most important to him, and that choice tells the world what kind of a man he is.

A choice tells the world what is most important to a human being. When a man has a choice to make he chooses what is most important to him, and that choice tells the world what kind of a man he is.

Chaim Potok
I won't talk to you about my family and you won't talk to me about yours. Family talk is either boring or self-pitying. Or it's Gothic, like a Faulkner novel. Who needs to talk about it? It's enough to live it.

I won't talk to you about my family and you won't talk to me about yours. Family talk is either boring or self-pitying. Or it's Gothic, like a Faulkner novel. Who needs to talk about it? It's enough to live it.

Chaim Potok
Honest differences of opinion should never be permitted to destroy a friendship, he told me.

Honest differences of opinion should never be permitted to destroy a friendship, he told me. "Haven't you learned that yet, Reuven?

Chaim Potok
It is strange how ideas can float about and be ignored until they are put into a book. A book can be a weapon...

It is strange how ideas can float about and be ignored until they are put into a book. A book can be a weapon...

Chaim Potok
Millions of people can draw. Art is whether there is a scream in you wanting to get out in a special way.

Millions of people can draw. Art is whether there is a scream in you wanting to get out in a special way.

Chaim Potok
Did he really believe God wrote stories that were open to one explanation only? A story that knew but one explanation could hardly be interesting and was certainly not worth the trouble of remembering.

Did he really believe God wrote stories that were open to one explanation only? A story that knew but one explanation could hardly be interesting and was certainly not worth the trouble of remembering.

Chaim Potok
When the alternative is possible disaster, a man must gamble.

When the alternative is possible disaster, a man must gamble.

Chaim Potok
The silence became unreal and seemed suddenly filled with a noise of its own, the noise of a too long silence.

The silence became unreal and seemed suddenly filled with a noise of its own, the noise of a too long silence.

Chaim Potok
...a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something.

...a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something.

Chaim Potok
One derives great moral strength from a cup of coffee,

One derives great moral strength from a cup of coffee," I said.

Chaim Potok
Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the Potter and I am the clay.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Thou art the Potter and I am the clay.

Chaim Potok
> Why does everything that lives have to die?
< So life would be precious, Asher. Something that is yours forever, is never precious.

> Why does everything that lives have to die? < So life would be precious, Asher. Something that is yours forever, is never precious.

Chaim Potok
I held it close to my face and smelled the ink. I have always loved the smell of ink in a new book.

I held it close to my face and smelled the ink. I have always loved the smell of ink in a new book.

Chaim Potok
Do you know what I don't understand about that ball game? I don't understand why I wanted to kill you.

Do you know what I don't understand about that ball game? I don't understand why I wanted to kill you.

Chaim Potok
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.

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
We become like dead branches and last year's leaves and what the hell good are we for ourselves and the world in a mental ghetto.

We become like dead branches and last year's leaves and what the hell good are we for ourselves and the world in a mental ghetto.

Chaim Potok
It's always easier to learn something than to use what you've learned.

It's always easier to learn something than to use what you've learned.

Chaim Potok
You don't want to make mistakes with people. Sometimes when you make a mistake you lose a human soul.

You don't want to make mistakes with people. Sometimes when you make a mistake you lose a human soul.

Chaim Potok
You can do anything you want to do. What is rare is this actual wanting to do a specific thing: wanting it so much that you are practically blind to all other things, that nothing else will satisfy you,.

You can do anything you want to do. What is rare is this actual wanting to do a specific thing: wanting it so much that you are practically blind to all other things, that nothing else will satisfy you,.

Chaim Potok
It was no joy waking up after a dream about that man. He left a taste of thunder in my mouth.

It was no joy waking up after a dream about that man. He left a taste of thunder in my mouth.

Chaim Potok
God is merciful in what He sometimes lets us forget.

God is merciful in what He sometimes lets us forget.

Chaim Potok
Asher Lev, an artist is a person first. He is an individual. If there is no person, there is no artist.

Asher Lev, an artist is a person first. He is an individual. If there is no person, there is no artist.

Chaim Potok
Good-bye, Davita. Be discontented with the world. But be respectful at the same time.

Good-bye, Davita. Be discontented with the world. But be respectful at the same time.

Chaim Potok
Williamsburg was stifling, narcotized by the heat.

Williamsburg was stifling, narcotized by the heat.

Chaim Potok
A word is worth one coin, silence is worth two

A word is worth one coin, silence is worth two

Chaim Potok
In Russia I went to a great yeshiva, and in America I work in a carnival.

In Russia I went to a great yeshiva, and in America I work in a carnival.

Chaim Potok
A person must know who he is. A person must understand himself, improve himself, learn his weaknesses in order to overcome them. It is hard for a person to understand his own weaknesses.

A person must know who he is. A person must understand himself, improve himself, learn his weaknesses in order to overcome them. It is hard for a person to understand his own weaknesses.

Chaim Potok
They become angry and ugly and they fight anything that's a threat to them. We have to learn how to fight back without hurting them too much.

They become angry and ugly and they fight anything that's a threat to them. We have to learn how to fight back without hurting them too much.

Chaim Potok
I do not know what evil is when it comes to art. I only know what is good art and what is bad art.

I do not know what evil is when it comes to art. I only know what is good art and what is bad art.

Chaim Potok
My father's right to shape my life had been taken from him by the same being who gave his own life meaning - the Rebbe.

My father's right to shape my life had been taken from him by the same being who gave his own life meaning - the Rebbe.

Chaim Potok
If everybody who had brains and doubts left Orthodoxy, we would be in a great deal of trouble.

If everybody who had brains and doubts left Orthodoxy, we would be in a great deal of trouble.

Chaim Potok
I walked the streets and tasted the golden sun that lay across the city.

I walked the streets and tasted the golden sun that lay across the city.

Chaim Potok
An artist is a person first.

An artist is a person first.

Chaim Potok
It’s not a pretty world, Papa.” “I’ve noticed,” my father said softly.

It’s not a pretty world, Papa.” “I’ve noticed,” my father said softly.

Chaim Potok
An artist has got to get acquainted with himself just as much as he can. It is no easy job, for it is not a present-day habit of humanity.

An artist has got to get acquainted with himself just as much as he can. It is no easy job, for it is not a present-day habit of humanity.

Chaim Potok
A man must be forced to choose. It is only when you are forced to choose that you know what is important to you.

A man must be forced to choose. It is only when you are forced to choose that you know what is important to you.

Chaim Potok
They are so rigid,' he said in a sudden angry voice. 'Why do they not see that this rigidity turns away our greatest minds?

They are so rigid,' he said in a sudden angry voice. 'Why do they not see that this rigidity turns away our greatest minds?

Chaim Potok