Elie Wiesel: Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives

By Steven T. Katz; Alan Rosen | Go to book overview

7
YEARNING FOR SACRED PLACE
WIESEL’S HASIDIC TALES AND
POSTWAR HASIDISM

NEHEMIA POLEN


Prologue

IN SOULS ON FIRE,1 Elie Wiesel begins his chapter on the School of Pshiskhe with the story of Eizik son of Yekel of Kraków, who dreams of treasure in Prague, but after his journey discovers that the treasure is really to be found in his own home.2 The point of the story is not, as is sometimes suggested, that since the treasure you seek is really already inside of you, you don’t need to make the journey, nor even that you need to make the journey in order to discover that the truth is inside you. Recall that, as Wiesel writes, Rabbi Simha-Bunam of Pshiskhe would tell this story each time he accepted a new disciple.3 Rabbi Bunam did accept disciples; he did not send them all back home where they came from. Apparently Rabbi Bunam wanted precisely those disciples who realized that they didn’t have to be there, who knew that their spiritual growth was in their own hands, not in those of the master they had sought out. The tale reflects on the School of Pshiskhe, its culture and values, the independence and boldness of spirit it sought to cultivate. In this understanding, the story and the journey, the tale of the rabbi of Pshiskhe and his disciples, each inform the other, reflect the other, interrogate the other, assist in defining the other.

This story on the complex interaction of rebbe, Hasid, story, and place is a good point of entry for our inquiry into Wiesel’s contribution to our understanding of Hasidism. Nearly all accounts of Hasidism point to the centrality of the zaddik in the movement. The zaddik is link between heaven and earth, conduit of blessing, center of his community, in some sense the center of the world itself.4 We also know of the importance of stories in Hasidism. From the earliest period hasidic tales conveyed the values of the movement and highlighted the role of the zaddikim. Hasidic storytelling is endowed with ritual holiness and has performative power; the telling of a story creates

-69-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Elie Wiesel: Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 302

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.