Last year, our friend Duvid Efune invited Leonard Cohen to receive the Algemeiner’s ‘Warrior for Truth’ award (previous recipients include Bernard-Henri Lévy and Elie Wiesel). His response, which he has shared with us, was an unparalleled lesson in humility and grace:
May I be frank? I have never been comfortable in the world of honors and rewards. These designations seem to compromise the heart-to-heart intimacy on which my line of work depends. The song is somewhat muted when it comes from a distinguished person. I can’t whisper in anyone’s ear as the Warrior for Truth. As far as possible, in this celebrity culture, I prefer to operate undercover. There is no room for victory in this curious realm of fragile healing. I seem to be one to whom the scriptural cautions apply: avoid the company of princes and the powerful. I hope you will forgive me.
Once again I thank you for your devotion to our people.
Keep me as the apple of the eye,
Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings,
From the wicked that oppress,
My deadly enemies, that compass me about.
Love and blessings,
(In their discussions, he always signed off with his Hebrew name.)