In the Face of Suffering One Has No Right to Turn Away

alex atkins bookshelf quotationsIn the face of suffering, one has no right to turn away, not to see. In the face of injustice, one may not look the other way. When someone suffers, and it is not you, that person comes first. His very suffering gives him priority. When someone cries, and it is not you, he has rights over you even if his pain has been inflicted by your common God. To watch over a man who grieves is a more urgent duty than to think of God.

From a discussion of Cain and Abel in Messengers of God: Biblical Portraits and Legends (1976) by Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel (1928-2016), American Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was a prolific author, having written 57 books; however, he is best know for Night, an unflinching but inspiring memoir based on his imprisonment at the age of 15, at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps from 1944 to 1945. The memoir has sold over 10 million copies in America and has been translated into 30 languages.

Read related posts: The Thirteen Commandments
The Wisdom of Elie Wiesel

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