Jewish Journal

“Open Heart” by Elie Wiesel - Book Recommendation

by Rabbi John Rosove

February 3, 2013 | 7:49 am

This little volume reminds me of a conversation once between Picasso and an art critique who asked the Master how long it took him to draw a piece that had only a few lines evoking the image of a man. Picasso said, “A life-time.”

So too is Elie Wiesel’s new book in which he reflects on the meaning of his life following emergency open heart surgery on June 16, 2011.

The volume is vintage Elie Wiesel. The writing is simple, the scope sweeping.

Upon awakening from the anesthetic he remembers thinking “…I am not dead yet. What does being resuscitated mean if not rediscovering one’s future?”

The book is a positive, optimistic expression of a grateful man. Eighty two years have not nearly been enough. He admits to having more words to write and teach, more to learn, and more love to share. 

For me, Elie’s most moving passage is his description of what happened when his five year old grandson, Elijah, came to pay him a visit during his recovery: “I hug him and tell him, ‘Every time I see you, my life becomes a gift.’”

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Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

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