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What is the summary of The Quarrel?

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June 14, 2012 6:12PM

Two estranged friends - one a rabbi, and the other, an agnostic writer- are compelled to resume an argument that caused a separation between the pair many years earlier, after a chance meeting pushes the duo together once more. The Quarrel is a touching film that trails writer Chaim and his friend from his youth, Rabbi Hersh, during their journey in a scenic park in Montreal as they return to a old argument regarding God and ethics; one that has newfound importance following the Holocaust that has occurred from the time when they were previously in contact. A chance encounter on the Jewish New Year offers Chaim and Hersh a final opportunity to face the past, clarify their conduct, and attempt to understand the vastly dissimilar lives they're lead. On the forenoon of Rosh Hashana, Chaim gets bacon and eggs for his first meal of the day and receives a telephone call from the lady he casually slept with the previous night, whereas Hersh is down by the lakefront guiding his yeshiva scholars in prayer. Their way of life and beliefs could not differ any further, however boyhood friendships many times will develop beyond rationality. While the two gentlemen reveal their Holocaust incidents and describe how the lives they lead have strengthened their viewpoints, 'the quarrel' that develops turns into a battle to determine whether they are best friends or angry foes. But rather than boiling things down to a straightforward right or wrong reality, The Quarrel fleshes out their opposing perspectives and then lets them stew unsettled, acknowledging life's complexities. For the two Holocaust survivors, discussing God awakens intense sentiments. To the rabbi, Hersh, the Holocaust demonstrated that assimilation is not possible and inappropriate, and he has since devoted his days to his yeshiva and to strengthening the Jewish faith amongst God's chosen people. Conversely, Chaim, cannot resolve the promise that Jews are God's chosen people with the atrocious murder of six million innocents. He thinks that if God exists, He broke his covenant with the Jewish people at Auschwitz concentration camp. Opposed to supporting either man's view, the exceptional discourse captures an impartial look at both religious and secular thought to portray the most compelling arguments for both, as the two friends continue their long-inactive dispute. Hersh maintains that his religious beliefs were only reinforced by the Holocaust, and that the abandonment of Judaism would be an offense to every Jew that died. He contends that without religious conviction man would be ruled by reason, the same "reason", which permitted individuals to ignore the killing of their Jewish neighbors. Chaim, in contrast, answers that faith in God doesn't automatically make citizens behave ethically and that nonbelievers are able to be the most honorable of all. He reasons that belief in humanity and a love for mankind are what compel us to perform virtuous actions. A mutual characteristic the two men share is rage; Chaim reveals that he lost his wife and sons, while Hersh divulges that he too lost his relatives in warfare and is the only surviving member. The tremendous agony they have suffered has left a rage fuming within both of them, which reaches their exteriors and manifests in the form of their harsh statements. Overall, The Quarrel takes an intimate view of friendship to attempt to understand what links two individuals together. It is not only a common event or like way of thinking that connect humans. It's special-an enthusiasm and force that cannot be simply identified. Buddies do not resemble one another all the time, they don't always conduct themselves in a similar manner, and sometimes they will not get along. However, any hostility originates from intense concern and sincere interest in what is best for the other individual. Guests are compelled to grin and nod, but a person who cares for you, is not fearful to disagree.