The compassion of Reb Moshe-Leib, the vision of the Seer of Lublin, the wisdom of Reb Pinhas, the warmth of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the humor of Reb Naphtali–to their followers these sages appeared as kings, judges, and prophets. They communicated joy and wonder and fervor to the men and women who came to them in the depths of despair. They brought love and compassion to the persecuted Jews of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania. For Jews who felt abandoned and forsaken by God, these Hasidic masters incarnated an irresistible call to help and salvation. The Rebbe combats sorrow with exuberance. He defeats resignation by exalting belief. He creates happiness so as not to yield to the sadness around him. He tells stories to escape the temptations of irreducible silence.
It is Elie Wiesel’s unique gift to make the lives and tales of these great teachers as compelling now as they were in a different time and place. In the tradition of Hasidism itself, he leaves others to struggle with questions of justice, mercy, and vengeance, providing us instead with eternal truths and unshakable faith.