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Understanding of God in Eliezer’s “Night” Essay

The book, Night, outlines Eliezer’s religious and psychological journey during the holocaust. The main conflict is Eli’s struggle to remain faithful and maintain his trust in God despite the inhumane conditions he is subjected to in the concentration camps. At first, Eliezer believes in a present and powerful God. However, his ideas about God and the divinity of the world change overnight, and he repeatedly denounces God. Interestingly, he manages to leave the concentration camps with unwavering faith. This paper will give further details about Eliezer’s personal revelation of the transformation knowledge of God.

Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient

Eliezer’s faith plays a significant role in Wiesel’s book, Night. A critical analysis of the beginning of the text opens a window linking Eliezer to devotion and commitment in God. His unshakable and unconditional faith in God is demonstrated at the beginning of the text through his interest in Talmud, and expressing grief over the destruction of the Temple (Wiesel 3). His desire to seek more knowledge in Jewish religion directs him to Moishe, who asks him why he cries whilst praying. Wiesel records his reply, “I don’t know” (4), an element that demonstrates his total believe and faith in God. Even though he was not aware of the reason as to why he was praying, the emotions elicited through weeping were enough to comprehend the seriousness in which he perceived the prayers.

Even so, Eliezer admits that an inner force triggered the sobbing “something inside me felt the need to cry” (p.4). His Godly acts are manifested through religious studies and devoted night prayers at the synagogue. His desire to expand drives interest in studying cabbala, which his father opposed.

Fuelled by an attempt to communicate with God, Eliezer finds Moishe and Beadle, who initiates him into reading Zohar. His interest in Jewish mysticism gives him insights about the true nature and character of God as omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He believes that the physical world is a reflection of God’s divine world, which reflected His goodness, holiness, and power. The deportation of Jews from their homes does not separate Eliezer from his trust in God. He remains strong, praying in the morning, and even thank God on arrival at Auschwitz.

Absent and Unjust

A number of experiences in the course of the holocaust shake Eliezer’s faith (Perry and Natchez 9). As documented by Wiesel, his first night in the camps exterminated his faith, as he believes the moments assassinated his God and soul (Wiesel 34). Eliezer witnesses cruelty and brutality, which he believes does not reflect the divinity of the God he trusted. The thoughts of God allowing people to go through much sorrow and distress pained his heart. For the first time at Auschwitz selection camp, Eliezer confronts God and asks why his name should be sanctified while he chose to be silent. In Wiesel’s text, Eliezer asks, “What was there to thank Him for?” (33).

During his days in the prison camps, Eliezer lives in a world absent of both man and God. He is engulfed by superior feelings, which make him feel stronger than God. At that time, he feels God’s absence in his world, and wonders why the Supreme Being, who had supernatural powers, could allow such cruelty to happen. He goes to the extent of believing that people had the right to disrespect God if he was not dead at that time (Bloom 43). According to Eliezer, God tolerated selfishness, evil, and cruelty through the holocaust, which if his fellow prisoners could preserve his belief in the goodness of humankind. At this stage, Eliezer stops believing in God, and even questions His existence. The gruesome murder of young children makes him doubt the concept of God.

Dwindling Faith in God

Interestingly, Eliezer only feels the absence of the Lord and believes in His existence. Nevertheless, he questions God’s honesty and fairness to humanity. Eliezer believes his prayers would give him the strength to ask his God the right questions, which he regarded important in his faith (Perry and Natchez 9). During the holocaust, his belief in God does not diminish, but he loses his faith through questioning the Supreme Being. For example, In Wiesel’s text, Eliezer asks “Where is God… Where He is? (65). Another example that indicates that he still believed in God was at Auschwitz, where even though he condemned God, he referred to Him as “ The … Master of the Universe” (33)

Besides, he refers to biblical passages by blaming his reactions towards God as in agreement with Job. He acknowledged the existence of God but doubted the validness of His power. Eliezer also prays to God when he realizes that he may lose his father, and desires for a religious memorial. Clearly, Eliezer is confused by the atrocities carried out by the Germans and fails to understand why God would let such a thing happen in the World he believes is divine. By the fact that he believes in the existence of a supreme being, Eliezer gets confidence and courage to soldier on with life. Miraculously, he does not loose complete faith in God, and the holocaust experience strengthens his faith.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Elie Wiesel’s Night, New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2010. Print.

Perry, Josh, and Jon Natchez. Night, 2003. PDF file. Web.

Wiesel, Elie. Night, 2006. PDF file. Web.

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"Understanding of God in Eliezer’s "Night"." IvyPanda, 23 Aug. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/understanding-of-god-in-eliezers-night/.

1. IvyPanda. "Understanding of God in Eliezer’s "Night"." August 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/understanding-of-god-in-eliezers-night/.


IvyPanda. "Understanding of God in Eliezer’s "Night"." August 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/understanding-of-god-in-eliezers-night/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Understanding of God in Eliezer’s "Night"." August 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/understanding-of-god-in-eliezers-night/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Understanding of God in Eliezer’s "Night"'. 23 August.

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