Wisdom from Elie Wiesel on Gen 18

Wisdom from Elie Wiesel on Gen 18

In Genesis 18, Abraham successfully pleads with God to spare Sodom for the sake of its righteous citizens. With deep wisdom, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, Elie Wiesel offers this beautiful haggadah-midrash, which I read today for my devotions.

   One of the Just Men came to Sodom, determined to save its inhabitants from sin and punishment. Night and day he walked the streets and markets protesting against greed and theft, falsehood and indifference. In the beginning, people listened and smiled ironically. Then they stopped listening: he now longer even amused them. The killers went on killing, the wise kept silent, as if there were no Just Man in their midst.

   One June a child, moved by compassion for the unfortunate teacher, approached him with these words:

   ‘Poor stranger, you shout, you scream, don’t you see that it is hopeless?’

   ‘Yes, I see,’ answered the Just Man.

   ‘Then why do you go on?’

   ‘I’ll tell you why. In the beginning, I thought I could change (hu)man(s). Today, I know I cannot. If I still shout today, if I still scream, it is to prevent (hu)man(s) from ultimately changing me.’

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