Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, passes away at 87

Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, passes away at 87
Elie Wiesel receives the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel's highest civilian award, from then-President Shimon Peres in November 2013. (Image: Gov of Israel via Ynet)

[Ed. – In some ways, it’s hard to believe he was only 87.  For as long as I can remember, he has been a giant force on the landscape of human inspiration.  Instead of one of the MSM obituaries, I’m going with excerpts from a blog post about his 2012 book Open Heart, written just a couple of weeks ago by young musician Steven Krage.  It’s by the things that captivated Krage that Elie Wiesel ought to be remembered.  May his memory be a blessing.]

The book is a memoir of Wiesel’s journey from health to heart disease to surgery to recovery. Six of his arteries were near clogged, so immediate surgery was foisted upon him. In the day or so leading up to surgery, Wiesel thinks about his life, his legacy, and his mortality in the most raw, honest way imaginable. …

Wiesel is Jewish and at one point quotes scripture: “Ubakharta bakhaim” meaning “You shall choose life.” Wiesel adds “…with the promise to live a better, more moral, more human life.” This final quotation is almost an entire chapter of the book, and that is what I will choose to leave you with.

Elie Wiesel can conclude with more poignant words than I ever could:

“A credo that defines my path:

“I belong to a generation that has often felt abandoned by God and betrayed by mankind. And yet, I believe that we must not give up on either. …

“I know-I speak from experience-that even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. That it is possible to feel free inside a prison. That even in exile, friendship exists and can become an anchor. That one instant before dying, man is still immortal. …

“It is up to us to choose whether we wish to use them to curse or to heal, to wound or to console.” (Wiesel 72-73)

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