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How Does Eliezer’s Faith Change in Night?

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At the beginning of the book, Eliezer has a strong religious faith, which contains the meaning of his life. He hopes to study the tradition of his people deeply in order to find answers to God’s mysteries. However, observing the suffering of the Jews in the camp, the boy doubts God’s kindness. Moreover, he accuses him of inaction and indifference.

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In the first pages of the book, Eliezer appears to readers as a faithful follower of the Judaic tradition. Despite his young age, he seeks to expand his knowledge of the faith of his people. The boy is interested in Kabbalistic mysticism, which is not typical for adolescents. Eliezer thinks that through the knowledge of God, he will be able to know the essence of the world. However, the events described in the book affect him and change his perception of faith and God.

At the beginning of the story, the boy is a resident of a safe Jewish community in Sighet. For members of the community, the news of the war in Europe was distant and abstract. Therefore, the dreams and aspirations of the young Eliezer were extremely ambitious. His father did not share the son’s position, though. However, the boy succeeded in understanding God. He even found himself a teacher who spoke to him “for hours on end about the Kabbalah’s revelations and its mysteries.” For Eliezer, faith was a link to the world that sustained his existence and personality.

While on the way to the camp, the boy meets the first manifestations of Nazi cruelty. He gradually starts questioning his faith. Eliezer does not understand why such meaningless brutality can exist. Upon arrival at the camp, he witnesses the suffering of the Jews and the violence of the Nazis. He begins to think that God has left. The boy and does not understand how people continue to believe at such a terrible moment.

Eliezer stops praying, even though he used to think it was the most important activity. However, he does not deny the existence of God; he is “doubting His absolute justice.” The scene of the demonstrative hanging of a boy in front of all Jews in the camp radically changes Eliezer’s attitude to the faith. Before this event, he already noted that his soul was “invaded and devoured by a black flame.” Now he is angry with God for his inaction and indifference to the suffering of the Jewish people.

God and faith begin to seem meaningless to the boy, as they are unable to stop violence and cruelty. Although this insight makes Eliezer feel empty and frustrated, he strives to find new sources of strength. He hesitates and fights with his despair. It is difficult for him to abandon God, and he is waiting for a sign. Eliezer accuses God and wonders where he is in the midst of the suffering of the Jews.

At the beginning of the book, Eliezer appears as a passionate follower of God. He wants to know his secrets and mysteries through the study of the Judaic tradition. After going through the described events, the boy ceases to strive for eternity and the search for answers to the questions of life. He does not renounce God but does not believe in his mercy. His existence seems meaningless to Eliezer if he is unable to stop the ongoing nightmare.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'How Does Eliezer's Faith Change in Night'. 29 September.

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