Oprah: What brings you the greatest joy?
Elie: Besides my family? Seeing a student understand what I say. Real joy is when you can help somebody in need.
Oprah: Do you think that each of us is here to serve others?
Elie: Yes, always. My humanity derives from my efforts with others. If I come close to a beggar, I come closer to God.
Oprah: On the last page in the magazine, I write a column called "What I Know for Sure." Elie, what is it that you know for sure, that you have no doubt about?
Elie: I have no doubt that we are here for a purpose. I have no doubt that the purpose is not only to bring God closer to his creations, but to bring his creations close to one another. I have no doubt that a human being is human simply because he or she is human—and we have no right to say that a poor person is of less value to society than someone who is rich.
Oprah: Yes—simply being born is what gives us worth. This is gooood!
Elie: I have no doubt that education is good for the soul, not only for the mind. I have no doubt that questions have their own magic, their own charm and their own immortality. I have no doubt that faith is only pure when it does not negate the faith of another. I have no doubt that evil can be fought and that indifference is no option. I have no doubt that fanaticism is dangerous. And of all the books in the world on life, I have no doubt that the life of one person weighs more than them all.
Contact the Museum of Jewish Heritage— A Living Memorial to the Holocaust at 646.437.4200 or log on to www.mjhnyc.org.
From the November 2000 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
We Hear You!