Finding Redemption in Wisdom


This weekend was New Year. As I was sitting in my schul listening to the drose (which was reflecing on the letter C, like a Sesame Street episode, Complain, Consider and Commit), my thoughts wandered about not something he was focusing on, rather something that reflected from the text we read mere minutes earlier. Which was how even in the original setting, the Paradise, even there the notion of a New Year mattered, as it was the restart of the cycle. Turns out, I’m not the only one who wandered about this.

Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, was not only a prolific writer but also a profound thinker. His words have the power to touch the depths of the human soul, inviting reflection and introspection. One of his poignant quotes, “God gave Adam a secret – and that secret was not how to begin, but how to begin again,” carries a profound message about the resilience of the human spirit and the journey of redemption.

Understanding the Quote

At first glance, Wiesel’s quote may seem enigmatic, but it unveils a profound insight into the essence of human existence and the significance of second chances. Let’s break it down:

  • “God gave Adam a secret”: This phrase implies that there is hidden knowledge or wisdom embedded within our very existence. It suggests that each individual possesses a unique inner strength, resilience, or potential, often undiscovered.
  • “…and that secret was not how to begin”: This part of the quote challenges the conventional belief that the most crucial aspect of life is the initial start or the first steps. Instead, Wiesel suggests that life’s true essence lies beyond mere beginnings.
  • “…but how to begin again”: Here, Wiesel highlights the importance of renewal, rebirth, and resilience. It implies that the ability to restart after facing challenges, failures, or adversities is the real secret that humanity has been entrusted with.

Themes and Interpretations

  • Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Wiesel’s quote underscores the idea that true strength lies in the ability to persevere and start anew, even when faced with unimaginable challenges. This resonates strongly with his own experiences as a Holocaust survivor, where he witnessed and endured the worst of human atrocities.
  • The Power of Redemption: The idea of “beginning again” suggests redemption and the opportunity for personal growth and healing. It encourages individuals to acknowledge their past mistakes, learn from them, and embrace the chance to make amends.
  • The Human Potential for Transformation: Wiesel’s words inspire us to tap into our inner reservoirs of strength and resilience. They remind us that, regardless of our past actions or circumstances, we have the capacity to change, evolve, and reinvent ourselves.
  • A Spiritual Perspective: The reference to “God” in the quote also carries a spiritual dimension. It hints at the idea that this wisdom or secret is something deeply ingrained in the human condition, perhaps part of our spiritual or existential nature.


Elie Wiesel’s quote, “God gave Adam a secret – and that secret was not how to begin, but how to begin again,” challenges us to reevaluate our perspective on life’s journey. It urges us to recognize that true wisdom lies not in avoiding mistakes or failures but in the ability to rise from them. It offers solace to those who have faced adversity and serves as a reminder of the incredible potential for redemption and personal growth that resides within each of us. In essence, Wiesel’s words invite us to embrace the second chances life offers and to find meaning in the very act of beginning again.

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