What does Reb Saunders mean when he wants Danny to be a tzaddik for the world in The Chosen?

Quick answer:

When Reb Saunders declares that he wants Danny to be a tzaddik for the world, he means that he accepts that his son has the soul of a tzaddik whatever he chooses to do in life. In Hasidic Judaism, a tzaddik is a spiritual leader or guide. Ideally, Reb would want Danny to exercise this leadership role within the Hasidic community, but he's come to accept that Danny can still do so outside the tradition in which he was raised.

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When Reb Saunders says that Danny can be a tzaddik for the world, he's acknowledging that it's possible to have the soul of a Hasidic spiritual leader outside the confines of the Hasidic community. Danny has made it clear that he wants to venture out into the world beyond the tight-knit religious community in which he's been raised; this has generated tensions between himself and his deeply devout father. Nonetheless, Reb accepts his son's desire to spread his wings, especially now that he knows he has the soul of a true tzaddik.

Reb confesses to Danny's friend Reuven that he raised his son in silence because he was worried that his soul was empty and that he'd be unable to empathize with the sufferings of others. It transpires that Reb always wanted his son to be a true tzaddik for the world, which is why he raised him in silence, the better for him to explore the depths of his own soul and feel the immense suffering of the world.

Reb now realizes that Danny, despite his passion for secular knowledge, has the authentic soul of a tzaddik. And not just a tzaddik for the Hasidic community, but for the world as a whole:

Let my Daniel become a psychologist. I have no more fear now. All his life he will be a tzaddik. He will be a tzaddik for the world. And the world needs a tzaddik.

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