Elie Wiesel: Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives

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

23
WIESEL’S CONTRIBUTION TO A
CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING OF JUDAISM

JOHN K. ROTH

Where are we going? Tell me. Do you know?

—Elie Wiesel, “A Mother and Her Daughter,” in A Jew Today

THE BEST OF ELIE WIESEL’S versatile writing includes the brief Holocaust-related dialogues that appear in his books from time to time. Spare and lean, they often consist of a few hundred words or less. These dialogues are distinctive not only for their minimalist quality but also because their apparent simplicity, their unidentified settings, unnamed characters, abrupt and open beginnings and endings raise fundamental questions in moving ways. In Wiesel’s A Jew Today one of these dialogues comes from “A Mother and Her Daughter.” “Where are we going?” it begins. “Tell me. Do you know?” The mother tells her daughter, “I don’t know,” but then when the child asks again, “Where are we going?” her mother says, “To the end of the world, little girl. We are going to the end of the world.”1

This dialogue is ominous and dark. It is so personal and poignant that I hesitate to draw upon it. But considering Wiesel’s contribution to Christian understandings of Judaism leads me immediately to this particular dialogue and its life-anddeath question, “Where are we going?” Christian understandings—better identified as misunderstandings—of Judaism have produced immense suffering and sorrow. They contributed mightily to the end of the world that took place on the ramp at Auschwitz, when a family was separated and Wiesel never saw his mother and little sister again but was left to imagine what they, and hundreds of thousands like them, might have said to each other as life and love were stolen from them.

It is an understatement to say that Christian understandings of Judaism are important. The Holocaust itself bears witness to that. Although they have come too late and may be too little, post-Holocaust Christian understandings of Judaism, fortunately, are much better than they were before and during the Shoah. What parts has Wiesel

-264-

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.