Finally, two hours all to myself, I headed to the bookstore. I would peruse the isles and touch all the books. I was going to get down on my knees and drop my bag and jacket and take up space. I love going to the bookstore. I love the smell and the order of all those words.
I entered the store, not a huge bookstore, but just big enough. Right in the very front is the book ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel. I have heard my sister refer to his writing and words, I picked up the book to buy it. Two more books eventually made their home with me, but ‘Night’ was silently calling my name.
From the first word on the first page I am hooked. It isn’t a long book, it isn’t a difficult book. It is simple and pure. I can’t put the book down it is an addiction in the purest form. I feel my fingers run across the page and I close my eyes, the words are so gripping, in my soul I feel as if I am there with him. I see him as a 15-year-old boy in Transylvania, lost in a world of chaos.
When I read accounts of the holocaust it stirs up something deep in my soul. I am jewish. I know that most of my family escaped Europe before the war, but what if? What if my long-lost great-uncle Moishe was in Auschwitz. Will I ever know? Probably not. It doesn’t really matter. I still feel a connection. There is a massive web and I am part of it. I am Jewish and that is my heritage. I read the words of Elie Wiesel and my heart begins to hurt, it burns, my breathing slows down, I am immediately taken there.
How could anybody survive such atrocity? How could humanity have survived such madness?
I think it is immensely important that we never forget the times that called humanity into question. I will never forget. I will hold all those souls in my heart.
There is a beautiful line in the beginning of the book. As a boy Elie Wiesel was intrigued by religion and jewish mysticism. He was a student to the core, he read and studied and eagerly looked for a master to teach him the Kabbalah. Elie befriended a lonely, poverty-stricken outcast in town, Moishe the Beadle. This frail old man knew things that intrigued Elie. The two would sit and study together for hours and days. A special bond that jumped off the page at me. I recognized their connection, it is one that is so powerful it keeps you coming back, even when all those around you think you too have gone mad. One afternoon after everybody had left the temple Elie remained with Moishe the Beadle, the two of them reading, praying, and questioning their faith together. Elie recounts that moment:
And in the course of those evening I became convinced that Moishe the Beadle would help me enter eternity, into that time when question and answer would become ONE.
I absolutely am obsessed with this line. I love this idea.
When question and answer are ONE.
I am absolutely moved to share with you the importance of this book. This work of art. Read it, re read it, and share it with a friend.
God Bless you Elie Weisel.
Thank you for being a Gate Keeper of History