The compassion of Reb Moshe-Leib, the vision of the Seer of Lublin, the wisdom of Reb Pinhas, the warmth of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the humor of Reb Naphtali–to their followers these sages appeared as kings, judges, and prophets. They communicated joy and wonder and fervor to the men and women who came to them in the depths of despair. They brought love and compassion to the persecuted Jews of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania. For Jews who felt abandoned and forsaken by God, these Hasidic masters incarnated an irresistible call to help and salvation. The Rebbe combats sorrow with exuberance. He defeats resignation by exalting belief. He creates happiness so as not to yield to the sadness around him. He tells stories to escape the temptations of irreducible silence.
It is Elie Wiesel’s unique gift to make the lives and tales of these great teachers as compelling now as they were in a different time and place. In the tradition of Hasidism itself, he leaves others to struggle with questions of justice, mercy, and vengeance, providing us instead with eternal truths and unshakable faith.
About the Author
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald, has been the preeminent voice of conscience and Holocaust memory throughout the seven decades since the end of World War II. In 1984, Professor Wiesel delivered the keynote address at the First International Conference of Children of Holocaust Survivors in New York City, and he has graciously allowed us to publish excerpts from that address as his charge to the post-Holocaust generations as we explore who we are, what we believe and what we stand for in the pages of this book.
Wiesel is the wife of Elie Wiesel.