Here are magnificent insights into the lives of biblical prophets and kings, talmudic sages, and Hasidic rabbis from the internationally acclaimed writer, Nobel laureate, and one of the world’s most honored and beloved teachers.
From a multitude of sources, Elie Wiesel culls facts, legends, and anecdotes to give us fascinating portraits of notable figures throughout Jewish history. Here is the prophet Elisha, wonder-worker and adviser to kings, whose compassion for those in need is matched only by his fiery temper. Here is the renowned scholar Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, whose ingenuity in escaping from a besieged Jerusalem on the eve of its destruction by Roman legions in 70 CE laid the foundation for the rabbinic teachings and commentaries that revolutionized the practice and study of Judaism and have sustained the Jewish people for two thousand years of ongoing exile. And here is Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Hasidism, languishing in a Czarist prison in 1798, the victim of a false accusation, engaging in theological discussions with his jailers that would form the basis for Chabad’s legendary method of engagement with the world at large.
In recounting the life stories of these and other spiritual masters, in delving into the struggles of human beings trying to create meaningful lives touched with sparks of the divine, Wiesel challenges and inspires us all to find purpose and transcendence in our own lives.