Liel Leibovitz pays tribute to Leonard Cohen
‘Like us all, I was deeply distraught to hear that Leonard Cohen has left us for prior engagements in more elevated realms. I’m so very fortunate to have known him, and I don’t suppose I’ll ever be done singing his praises or trying to decipher the majestic and meaningful mysteries he’d left behind for us weary souls to ponder. This is not a eulogy, then, and no obituary could ever contain the multitudes of his spirit. This is an invitation, more pressing than ever, to do unto others as Leonard Cohen has done unto us and find within us an insatiable appetite for kindness and compassion.
‘This, maybe, is what Leonard had in mind when he sang that every heart to love will come but like a refugee, or that love was the only engine of survival. This is the distillation of his life’s work, his manual for living with defeat: we have only each other. Whatever light we bring to this world, whatever strength in the face of so much fragility and fear, we do only because we aren’t alone, only because we look out for each other, only because we are kind. This is the one path we have to redemption, our cold and broken Hallelujah that is sweeter and more true than any other song.
‘In what I now realize with profound sadness was his last note to me, Leonard signed off with the traditional Hebrew blessing we recite every time we finish reading one of the books of the Torah: Chazak, Chazak, Ve’Nitchazek—be strong, be strong, and may we all be strengthened. Amen to that. We are truly fortunate to have basked in his warmth, and may we all spend a lifetime proving ourselves worthy students of his wisdom and his grace.’
Author of A Broken Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen’s secret chord
New York, 11th November 2016