Monday, July 4, 2016

"A Few Personal Parting Words to My Friend And Colleague Elie Wiesel"

This is lovely, sad but life-affirming at the same time, just like the story of the Jewish people. 

Read the whole thing. 

"In one particularly moving conversation, Elie shared with me how he had basically given up on life after the war and the atrocities and losses he witnessed. Even after meeting French author François Mauriac, who persuaded him to serve as a witness and chronicle his experiences, he still felt dead inside and could not bring himself to personally commit to any life-affirming activities. But then things changed. Wiesel told me, “I credit your father as being one of the first people who altered my view and attitude to life. Though he himself had suffered under Soviet oppression, losing his parents at a young age, your father was a shining example of positivity and celebrating life and its possibilities.”

"Elie paused, took a deep breath and continued: “And then, in the mid-60’s, your father introduced me to the Lubavitcher Rebbe. You father persuaded me to go see him, which I ultimately did. After hours of dialogue and subsequent correspondence, the rebbe was the one who finally convinced me to marry and build a family. His most compelling argument – which I could not refute – was that the only and ultimate response to Nazi destruction was to build a family and perpetuate the memory of those they wished to obliterate."

“This changed my life, forever. In the single-most important decision of my life, I married Marion in 1969, and then, in 1972, we had our son – our pride and joy – Shlomo Elisha, named after my father, who perished in Buchenwald.”

"Clearly very emotional, Elie walked me over to the photos on his desk. Pointing to pictures of his son and his grandchildren, he simply said: “Everything is worth this.”


Things really don’t make sense. Life is mostly absurd. We have seen man at his worst. But for the Jew, insanity is not abnormal. I can’t tell you what was going on in the minds, hearts and souls of the Jews who walked to their deaths. But I can tell you that every single one of these sacred people knew one thing. And they declared it with their prayers and their songs:

You can take our bodies, but you can’t take our souls. You can take our lives but not our faith. We will prevail. If not today, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, the next day. If not us, our children. If not our children, our grandchildren. But we will prevail."