Elie Wiesel wrote the book ‘Night’ to express what he experienced in prison. It gives a detailed account of a horrible holocaust. In addition, faith is prominently explored in the book. It therefore plays an important role in the development of the story. This essay focuses on how Elie’s perceptions of God change as the book develops.
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At the beginning of the book, Elie had a strong belief in God. He recalled the days he studied the Talmund and went to the synagogue at night to express his disappointment after its destruction. He then requested his father to assist him to find a master who could guide him to study cabbala.
However, the father argued that Elie was not old enough to study cabbala, but on his own, Elie looked for a master known as Moche. Moche tried to find out why Elie wept when he was praying but he replied that he did not know why it happened. He however said that he did it instinctively just as he ate without being prompted to eat.
Throughout the book, Elie’s faith changed several times, something that created a major conflict. He started with a strong belief in God but later denied him. However, his faith was strengthened before he left prison. At the beginning, Elie loved God unconditionally because of his background knowledge in Jewish mysticism. He remained faithful to God during deportation of the Jews and even made a thanksgiving prayer after their safe arrival at Auschwitz.
Elie’s faith started to change for the first time when he faced the risk of being burned together with his father. That marked the beginning of his doubts about God. However, as they approached the fire, he said, “May his name be blessed and magnified…” (Wiesel 43).This was an indication that although his faith had started to change, he still had faith in God.
After Elie went to prison, it was difficult for him to sustain his belief in God in an environment that was strange. He wondered how a God who loved his people allowed them to suffer. This made him think that having faith in God was not rewarding. While at Auschwitz, Elie struggled a lot because he had a feeling of defiance towards God but his faith encouraged him not to be defiant.
His faith started to decline when he said, “Why should I bless His name? What had I to thank him for?” (Wiesel 31). Elie believed that God existed but doubted that he was just. While in prison, he had lost hope of attaining freedom. It was also during that time that he started to lose faith in God.
Elie was lonely in prison because there was neither God nor man. As a result, he felt that he had more strength than God. When he was forcefully made to witness a child who was well-liked being killed, he asked, “Where is God Now?” (Wiesel 72). He became rebellious against God during preparations of Rosh Hashanah.
He did not see the reason why he was supposed to bless a God who had allowed the burning of many children. He also wondered why God had caused his people to go through continuous suffering. Elie questioned God and his faith numerous times throughout the book. However, this did not completely break him. He was able to come out of the holocaust with a stronger faith.
Wiesel, Elie. Night,. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. Print