Elie Wiesel
Elie WieselReuters

In a tearful and emotional conversation with Radio Kol Hai, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, eulogized his close friend, the author Eli Weisel, who passed away this week in New York.

Rabbi Lau said that "Eli permitted himself to say anything. He was not part of any political group."

Noting Weisel's dedication to Judaism, Rabbi Lau highlighted his efforts to maintain traditional practices - even in a concentration camp.

"For forty days he succeeded in putting on tefillin in Auschwitz, at tremendous risk."

"People of his age went through a huge crisis of faith. [But when Weisel] arrived in New York he immediately contacted an Orthodox Synagogue. For Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot he would come to Jerusalem. He gave his son, Shlomo Elisha a proper bar mitzvah."

"This was a Jew who never denied the God of Israel. He turned to Him in all of his books and his talks."

"His struggles on behalf of Soviet Jews was due to his love of his brothers."