The Rabbinical Council of America, the leading organization of Orthodox rabbis, joins together with Jews and others across the world in grief and reverence upon the passing during Shabbat of Elie Wiesel, of blessed memory, whose piercing prose, poetic personality, and passionate persistence taught generations of humanity what it means to be human.
As a model and preacher of compassion, he reminded us always that only genuine memory of the suffering of the lost can engender true compassion; that we must recognize the evil of the wicked in order to help their victims; and that fighting for the oppressed always requires us to have the courage to fight.
As a student of history ancient and modern, he understood and insisted that standing up to those who threaten and terrorize the Jewish State of Israel is a seamless and necessary component of a commitment to human rights for all.
As a Jew of profound spirit, he taught us that wrestling with both the deepest suffering and the deepest questions can coexist with the deepest immersion in both the study of Torah and an all-encompassing life of Jewish practice. His brief, famous 1997 New York Times essay described the heartbreaking and inspiring arc of his relationship with God in the wake of his experience, a particularly moving example of his later writing.
As Elie Wiesel today is finally embraced once more by his beloved mother and sister from whom he was separated at the lines on the Auschwitz train platform, as he today is reunited with his father who suffered alongside him in the camps for so long but did not survive, we say a prayer that is very old and very short and yet the meaning of which was really first taught to us by Elie Wiesel:
Yehi zichro baruch
May his memory be blessed.