Filled with Fire and Light: Portraits and Legends from the Bible, Talmud, and Hasidic World

Elie Wiesel. Schocken, $25.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4353-6
The late Nobel laureate Wiesel (Night) displays his rhetorical gifts in this collection of essays, which have been adapted from his lectures on Judaica. Wiesel casts a wide net, taking in lesser-known biblical figures including the prophet Elisha and King Josiah, as well as broader topics, such as depictions of God in the Torah. His treatment of Josiah is emblematic; though the Judahite monarch is known for implementing religious reforms, the discovery of a scroll supposedly written by Moses himself calls into question his legacy: “Could it simply be that just as Noah was considered righteous in his evil generation, Josiah was considered righteous amid all the evil in his?” Wiesel poses and answers questions about whether Josiah’s morality was only relative to his time, and concludes that he had been a notable exception “to the corrupt, idol-worshipping Jewish kings.” All the sections, including a look at the unusual friendship between an ancient rabbinic scholar and a reformed criminal, achieve Wiesel’s goal of studying the stories “in the context of our need to create through learning a community” and in a way that can inspire joy and ethical behavior. Wiesel astounds with these timeless lessons drawn from ancient texts. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/10/2021
Release date: 11/02/2021
Genre: Religion
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-8052-4354-3
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