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A collection of sayings and quotations by Chaim Potok on silence, literature, value, planning, life, love, silence, soul, friends, art, truth, Jewish, Judaism and integrity.

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

Quick Facts

Famous As: American author

Born On: February 17, 1929

Died On: July 23, 2002

Born In: The Bronx

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.

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.

Chaim Potok

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.

Chaim Potok

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.

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.

Chaim Potok

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

Chaim Potok

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.

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.

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.

Chaim Potok

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.

Chaim Potok

... 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.

Chaim Potok

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.

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.

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.

Chaim Potok

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...

Chaim Potok

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.

Chaim Potok

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.

Chaim Potok

...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," I said.

Chaim Potok

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.

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.

Chaim Potok

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.

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.

Chaim Potok

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.

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,.

Chaim Potok

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.

Chaim Potok

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.

Chaim Potok

Williamsburg was stifling, narcotized by the heat.

Chaim Potok

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Chaim Potok

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.

Chaim Potok

An artist is a person first.

Chaim Potok

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.

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.

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?

Chaim Potok