‘Lost’ and ‘The Chosen’


The greatest of "Lost" bloggers, Jeff "Doc" Jensen of Entertainment Weekly, suggests that Chaim Potok’s "The Chosen" might be the key to understanding and resolving the final season’s much-talked about dual time lines:

Anyway, all of this is a very looooong build up to the other book that we saw in Sawyer’s tent/library, the one that may really zero in on the true nature of the split world paradigm: The Chosen by Chaim Potok, a classic novel about two Jewish boys struggling with identity, faith, familial and cultural obligations, and personal destiny. It’s interesting that Lost should drop this book into the seventh hour of the season — because in Chapter 7 of The Chosen, you get a meaty passage that connects with so much Lost stuff, it surely can’t be coincidence. You get talk of birth and rebirth. You get talk of a ”master of the universe” and ”dust.” (Think: Jacob.) You get talk of free will, following the will of God, and what human beings get out of the bargain. (Think: Jacob and Smokey.) You get talk of a world with God (a world with the Island) and a world without a God (the Sideways World, sans Island) and what needs to be done to keep the presence of God alive in our hearts, our communities, our world. (I’m not sure of the connection to Lost; I just liked writing the sentence.) And you get this:

”It is written, ‘This world is like a vestibule before the world-to-come; prepare thyself in the vestibule, that thou mayest enter the hall.’ The meaning is clear: The vestibule is this world, and the hall is the world to come.”

Now, that sounds a lot like the reincarnation/”Epilogue World” theory I crapped on earlier in this column, right? But let’s keep reading. As the passage continues, the rabbi mentions Gematriya, which assigns numerical values to words. The word chai, or life, has the value of 18. The rabbi notes that the phrase ”this world” has the value of 163 and the phrase ”the world to come” has the value of 154. The difference between the two numbers: 9. The rabbi says:

”Nine is half of 18. Eighteen is chai, life. In this world there is only half of chai. We are only half alive in this world! Only half alive!”

Interesting. Here in season 6 of Lost, which will run for 18 hours, we have two seemingly parallel yet peculiar worlds. Both seem to have integrity, but I contend that both are flawed by themselves and need to be recombined. The World As It Should Be is chai (18); the Island World and the Sideways Worlds are half-life worlds split from the greater whole. (Then again, I could be totally wrong. As you read the rest of Chapter 7, you realize that this meaty passage contains some deliberate errors, and was, in fact, presented to the book’s young protagonists as a test to see if they could catch them. But then again, that’s Lost 6.0, too, isn’t it? Spot the flaws — the nicks in Jack’s neck — and maybe, just maybe, you can glean the true purpose of the story. Or maybe Lost was just having a funny on anyone who claims they can take its random data and add the whole thing up properly. You know: people like me.)

Oh, and this, from Jensen’s take on last week’s episode:

There, Sawyer played nurse to wounded Jin, who winced as they waited for Crazy Rabbi Locke to come back from Temple.

Is he saying Evil Locke (Caine? Esau?) is a Reform Jew!?!

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