Critical Essays Elie Wiesel and Mysticism


Early in his exploration of self, young Elie ignores his father's warning about the cabbala and studies a mystical philosophy that demands a maturity and sophistication that come only from experience. According to the dictates of Moses Cordovero, the cabbalist is expected to imitate thirteen divine qualities, cultivated through daily prayer:

Forbearance of detraction or insult

Patience in facing evil

Forgiveness of evil

Understanding of other human beings

Control of anger in thought and deed

Mercy toward all, even the persecutor

Denial of vengeance

Concentration on the good in villains

Uncompromising compassion for those in pain


Mercy on people who do good

Nonjudgmental reproof of villains

Respect for the pure, unblemished self that existed in infancy

The culmination of this mystical regimen is the egoless self, a Jewish parallel of the tao, the path to sublime oneness with God.