What is Scripture? The Hebrew word is torah. Torah means teaching, learning.
Occasionally, I come to moments of anguish in the text.
I thought that culture and education are the shield. An educated person cannot do certain things and, and be educated, you cannot, and there they were, killing children day after day.
Humanity would never tolerate it.
I personally have no doubt that the Exodus occurred. How it occurred, I don't know.
Every single human being is a unique human being. And, therefore, it's so criminal to do something to that human being, because he or she represents humanity.
I have tried to keep memory alive... I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.
I don't see the junk youth. I only meet students, and even those who are not formally at the university, if they come to listen to me, they come to read me, it means they are not junk students.
The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference.
The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. Indifference creates evil. Hatred is evil itself. Indifference is what allows evil to be strong, what gives it power.
When did I learn the Bible? When I was four or five years old. It's still the pull of my childhood, a fascination with the vanished world, and I can find everything except that world.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
Some events do take place but are not true; others are, although they never occurred.
Usually I get up early every morning and from 6:00 to 10:00 I write. The rest of the time I study and prepare my work or I do other things. But four hours a day are exclusively devoted to writing.
In those dark times, one rose to the very heights of humanity by simply remaining human.
I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I've been closer to him for that reason.
When I see a child who is hungry, I see a person who is humiliated.
I imagine, like all his predecessors, Barak Obama would like to achieve greatness in bringing peace in the Middle East. I hope it will not be at the expense of Israel.
One person of integrity can make a difference.
It is obvious that the war which Hitler and his accomplices waged was a war not only against Jewish men, women, and children, but also against Jewish religion, Jewish culture, Jewish tradition, therefore Jewish memory.
Every moment is a new beginning.
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.
What is man?
Hope turned to dust.
What is man?
Dust turned to hope.
A voice behind me asked, "Where is God? Where is He? Where can He be now?" and a voice within me answered: "Where? Here He is -- He has been hanged here, on these gallows.
I remember when I heard the words "Biblical criticism" in my town, it was with disdain: "Biblical criticism? How dare you?"
Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.
One always goes back to one's childhood in the beginning, and I come from a very religious family and surrounding. Very religious.
Had the situation not been so tragic, we might have laughed.
One doesn't go to Jerusalem, one returns to it. That's one of its mysteries.
Terrorism must be outlawed by all civilized nations, not explained or rationalized, but fought and eradicated. Nothing can, nothing will justify the murder of innocent people and helpless children.
In Jewish history there are no coincidences.
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies.
I don't think governments use religious repression as a weapon, they use it as a as a means of -- of oppression. To stifle opposition. To mute resistance.
Religion is a very personal thing for me. Religion has its good moments and its poor moments.
Once upon a time refugee meant somebody who has a refuge, found a place, a haven where he could find refuge.
I was there when God was put on trial... At the end of the trial, they used the word 'chayav,' rather than 'guilty.' It means 'He owes us something.' Then we went to pray.
For the good of all, I say: Be careful, the brutality of the world must not be more powerful or attractive than love and friendship.
The primary task of a Jew in turbulent times is to be Jewish.
Human beings should be held accountable. Leave God alone. He has enough problems.
Peace is our gift to each other.
In Talmudic literature, certainly in the beginning, he was like a human being -- except he was a serpent. But he was talking and walking and probably dreaming.
In my tradition, one must wait until one has learned a lot of Bible and Talmud and the Prophets to handle mysticism. This isn't instant coffee. There is no instant mysticism.
When language fails, violence becomes a language; I never had that feeling.
Whenever an angel says "Be not afraid!" you'd better start worrying. A big assignment is on the way.
Fanaticism in many lands has surfaced as the greatest threat to the world. Indifference to its consequences would be a serious mistake.
For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.
Religion is not man's relationship to God, it is man's relationship to man.
His cold eyes stared at me. At last, he said wearily: "I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people."
The story of the Sacrifice of Isaac is much more a part of theology than of history.
No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.
Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate -- healthy virile hate -- for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German.
Not to transmit an experience is to betray it.
I come from a very religious background.And actually I remained in it. All my anger I describe in my quarrels with God in Auschwitz, but you know I used to pray every day.
I would hesitate to give advice to the Dalai Lama and his people because they are suffering. The Dalai Lama suffered from exile and the people in Tibet suffer from oppression.
Tibet's a tragedy. It's an insult to human decency.
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.
I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lies are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men and women are prosecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must -- at that moment -- become the center of the universe.
Writing should not be routine; writing should actually be the opposite of procedural because otherwise the written word would become a routine word.
All I hope is that the American coalition is doing its best to prevent civilian casualties and the killing of innocent people.
I didn't know that this was the moment in time and the place where I was leaving my mother and Tzipora forever.
Man asks and God replies but we don't understand his replies because they dwell in the depths of our souls and remain there until we die.
The Bible is been my passion almost from my youth.
Moses was the greatest legislator and the commander in chief of perhaps the first liberation army.
The sincere Christian knows that what died in Auschwitz was not the Jewish people but Christianity.
The Holocaust is not a cheap soap opera. The Holocaust is not a romantic novel. It is something else.
I've worked with five Presidents in America, all of them I ask the same question always: Why didn't the American allies bomb the railways going to Auschwitz?
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed.
I never compared Nazis into communism, but communism was the same thing, the end justifies the means. Whatever the means.
Perhaps some day someone will explain how, on the level of man, Auschwitz was possible; but on the level of God, it will forever remain the most disturbing of mysteries.
If God exists, how can we lay claim to freedom, since He is its beginning and its end?
The opposite of faith is not heresy but indifference.
Sometimes I am asked if I know 'the response to Auschwitz; I answer that not only do I not know it, but that I don't even know if a tragedy of this magnitude has a response.
An indifference to suffering makes humans inhuman.
How can a human being be illegal?
What is man? Ally of God or simply his toy? His triumph or his fall?
We have to go into the despair and go beyond it, by working and doing for somebody else, by using it for something else.
A destruction, an annihilation that only man can provoke, only man can prevent.
I've organised for the last years, since I got the Nobel Prize actually, Anatomy of Hate Conferences all over the world, what is hate. Didn't help but at least they explored it.
I think those governments who resent religion, they're afraid of religion because religion may be in their eyes, in their views be seen as a counter government or a parallel government.
As you know, I describe Shirat ha-Yam as part of an epic story that has qualities of history and which also has qualities of the mythological, of an epic.
What is being lost is the magic of the word. I am not an image person. Imagery belongs to another civilization: the caveman. Caveman couldn't express himself so he put images on walls.
It's easier to be conformist naturally; it's easier except for those who don't like conformism.
It is true that not all the victims were Jews, but all the Jews were victims.
No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.
Nobody is stronger, nobody is weaker than someone who came back. There is nothing you can do to such a person because whatever you could do is less than what has already been done to him. We have already paid the price.
The Biblical text does not have punctuation marks like periods and question marks. Where we end sentences is a matter of interpretation.
I cannot cure everybody. I cannot help everybody. But to tell the lonely person that I am not far or different from that lonely person, that I am with him or her, that's all I think we can do and we should do.
Though we talk peace, we wage war. Sometimes we even wage war in the name of peace. Does that seem paradoxical? Well, war is not afraid of paradoxes.
I spent most of my time talking to God more than to people.
Whatever we thought was certain is no longer certain, and therefore in science probably certain things must be correct, but in human behaviour I am not so sure.
It was like a page torn from a history book, from some historical novel about the captivity of babylon or Spanish Inquisition.
I'll tell you what: I believe mysticism is a very serious endeavor. One must be equipped for it.
I never teach the same course twice.
No human being is illegal.
No human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?
Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds.
I remember, May 1944: I was 15-and-a-half, and I was thrown into a haunted universe where the story of the human adventure seemed to swing irrevocably between horror and malediction.
You cannot write in more than one language. Words don't come out as well.
I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead. and anyone who does not remember betrays them again.
We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.
We are all teachers, or should be. Anyone who relays experience to another person is a teacher. Not to transmit your experience is to betray it.
There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.
There is a coalition of anti-Semitism today, the extreme left, the extreme right and in the middle the huge corpus of Islam. I'm worried, I go around with a very heavy heart.
I think that human beings are capable of the worst things possible.
I think that human beings are capable of the worst things possible and they show that there were times, and there probably are times, that it is human to be inhuman.
Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.
What does mysticism really mean? It means the way to attain knowledge. It's close to philosophy, except in philosophy you go horizontally while in mysticism you go vertically.
Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.
The Jewish tradition of learning-is learning. Adam chose knowledge instead of immortality.
For us it's not easy to be conformist, I cannot stand to be conformist, I don't accept what it is, I like to say no. If I see an injustice I scream.
Christians call it the "Sacrifice of Isaac," and Jews call it the "Binding of Isaac.
A Jew must be sensitive to the pain of all human beings. A Jew cannot remain indifferent to human suffering... The mission of the Jewish people has never been to make the world more Jewish, but to make it more human.
It's clear to me that one can't be Jewish without Israel. Religious or non-religious, Zionist or non-Zionist, Ashkenazi or Sephardic -- all these will not exist without Israel.
The Bible is not only laws, it's also stories.
You would be amazed at the number of doors a Nobel Prize opens.
There is divine beauty in learning... To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps.
Now, when I hear that Christians are getting together in order to defend the people of Israel, of course it brings joy to my heart. And it simply says, look, people have learned from history.
Oh, it is not death that frightens me, but the impossibility of imparting some meaning to my past.
I write to understand as much as to be understood.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
It is up to us to determine whether the years ahead will be for humankind a curse or a blessing. We always must remember that it is given to men and women to choose life and living, not death and destruction.
When a person doesn't have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.
In any society, fanatics who hate don't hate only me -- they hate you, too. They hate everybody.
The deeper the nostalgia and the more complete the fear, the purer, the richer the word and the secret.
In spite of despair, hope must exist. In spite of suffering, humanity must prevail. And in spite of all the differences in the world, the worst enemy, the worst peril, is indifference.
I marvel at the resilience of the Jewish people. Their best characteristic is their desire to remember. No other people has such an obsession with memory.
We've sort of agreed that the account of Adam and Eve is a story.
From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.
I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes were open and I was alone -- terribly alone in a world without God and without (hu)man(ity).
Hope is like peace. It is not a gift from God. It is a gift only we can give one another.
What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.
The only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.
Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.
Education in the key to preventing the cycle of violence and hatred that marred the 20th century from repeating itself in the 21st century.
Do you know what laughter is? I'll tell you. It's God's mistake. When God made man in order to bend him to his wishes he carelessly gave him the gift of laughter.
I've given my life to the principle and the ideal of memory, and remembrance.
A religious person answers to God, not to the elected or non-elected official.
Once you bring life into the world, you must protect it. We must protect it by changing the world.
Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.
Language failed me very often, but then, the substitute for me was silence, but not violence.
Indifference is the sign of sickness, a sickness of the soul more contagious than any other.
In order to fly, you have to give up the ground you are standing on.
Whatever you think in life... think higher and feel deeper.
Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love.
Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.
If you make a determination that story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac is not historical, do you throw it away? I don't think we can say whether it's precisely, scientifically historical.
It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.
It was neither German nor Jew who ruled the ghetto -- it was illusion.
For the purpose of my life, I don't ask the question. First of all, I believe. I think the Five Books of Moses are inspired. Call it divine. I don't know. But I would certainly call it inspired.
And action is the only remedy to indifference, the most insidious danger of all.
I think so. 9 11 has been a turning point in American history, there's no doubt about that.
The sky is so close to the sea that it is difficult to tell which is reflected in the other, which one needs the other, which one is dominating the other.
I believe in God -- in spite of God! I believe in Mankind -- in spite of Mankind! I believe in the Future -- in spite of the Past!
God made human beings because he loves stories.
That is my major preoccupation, memory, the kingdom of memory. I want to protect and enrich that kingdom, glorify that kingdom and serve it.
I do not recall a Jewish home without a book on the table.
Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today anything is allowed. Anything is possible.
Look, if I were alone in the world, I would have the right to choose despair, solitude and self-fulfillment. But I am not alone.
Certain things, certain events, seem inexplicable only for a time: up to the moment when the veil is torn aside.
Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.
We believed in God, trusted in man, and lived with the illusion that every one of us has been entrusted with a sacred spark.
Bite your lips, little brother...Don't cry. Keep your anger, your hate, for another day, for later. The day will come but not now...Wait. Clench your teeth and wait.
For me democracy is the only way of life. The opposite is dictatorship or anarchy.
This day I ceased to plead. I was no longer capable of lamentation. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused.
Go over to Greece with the Iliad and Odyssey. These have elements of history, and they have non-historical elements. It's very difficult to pull them apart. And I think there's not much reason to.
For nearly 3,500 years Exodus has left such an imprint on people's memories that I cannot imagine it had been invented just as a legend or a tale.
I would like to see real peace and a state of Israel living peacefully alongside a state of Palestine.
When has religion ever been unifying? Religion has introduced many wars in this world, enough bloodshed and violence.
We must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.
We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silent encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories.
Mankind needs peace more than ever, for our entire planet, threatened by nuclear war, is in danger of total destruction. A destruction only man can provoke, only man can prevent.
You're shaking … so am I. It's because of Jerusalem, isn't it? One doesn't go to Jerusalem, one returns to it. That's one of its mysteries.
No one may speak for the dead, no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions.
I will say, with memoir, you must be honest. You must be truthful.
I developed an anger at Moses Mendelssohn. Later, I read the book. I realized there was nothing subversive in it.
I have one request: may I never use my reason against truth.
Think higher, feel deeper.
Love makes everything complicated.
If I were in the government, I would persuade the prime minister to see the beauty in the fact that people see Israel as a haven -- from their sadness to their hope.
I think Sacrifice of Isaac is the most important event in the Bible except for Sinai.
The only place where I felt at home, on familiar ground, was the Jewish cemetery. And yet I had never set foot in it before. Children had been forbidden to enter.
Only fanatics -- in religion as well as in politics -- can find a meaning in someone else's death.
The story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac are nowhere in any other tradition.
The impact of the holocaust on believers as well as unbelievers, on Jews as well as Christians, has not yet been evaluated. Not deeply, not enough.
I belong to a tradition that believes that the death of a single child is a blemish on creation.
Life is not a fist. Life is an open hand waiting for some other hand to enter it.
I don't like docudramas. Documentaries should not go together with fiction, or half-fiction or quarter-fiction. The two should not go together. They cannot mix.
Whoever survives a test, whatever it may be, must tell the story. That is his duty.
A holy war is a contradiction in terms. War dehumanizes, war diminishes, war debases all those who wage it.
Historically, I come from Jewish history. I had the classic upbringing in the Yeshiva, learning, learning, and more learning.
What I don't like today is, to put it coarsely, the phony Hasidism, the phony mysticism. Many students say, "Teach me mysticism." It's a joke.