A Jewish Evangelist Reflects on Elie Wiesel

It has been almost a week since I literally wept upon hearing the news that Nobel Peace Prize winner, statesman, symbol of what is good in the world and, yes, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel had died on Saturday (2 July 2016) at the age of 87. I spent a great deal of Saturday re-reading portions of my well-worn copy of Night and reflecting on many of the same words that many around the world have considered his paramount reflection of Auschwitz…

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed….Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

However, for me it is a different statement that haunts me. A statement that many will pass by because in many ways it could be seen as almost innocuous. However, I see it as the truest reflection of the continual struggle that Wiesel faced his entire life as it relates to his relationship with God — “… a conviction grew in me that Moshe the Beadle would draw me with him into eternity …,”

Moshe the Beadle was a man who in many ways “a custodian” of the synagogue that Wiesel grew up in Sighet, Romania, before the horror of Auschwitz and Mauthausen and the Death March. Moshe was unassuming to most in Sighet but for Wiesel they were kindred spirits as it related to the world of spirituality and Kabbalah. For a pre-Shoah Wiesel was drawn to God just as the post-Shoah Wiesel was conflicted by God and alternatively wanted a relationship with Adonai and but then was repulsed by Him because of the horrendous memories he could not and would not forget. 

This is also the struggle of not being able to forget that I face as an evangelist to the Jewish people. We must never forget. However, eternity is real and is drawing each of us towards it. The horror of six million versus a loving God who gave us Messiah Jesus to die for our sins. The truth of John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 and the question of where Moshe the Beadle beckoned Elie Wiesel to come haunts me even a week later…

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