Moshe the Beadle is an indigent Jewish man working in a Hasidic synagogue in the town of Sighet. Moshe is the first person to raise the alarm about the persecution of the Jewish people during WWII. However, the townsfolk do not believe him, thinking he is deluded.
In Night written by Elie Wiesel, the character of Moshe the Beadle is a poor man from the small town of Sighet. Moshe is not native to Sighet but is of Jewish descent, as are most of the people living in the town. At the beginning of the story, Moshe works at the local synagogue. He helps with small tasks and teaches the Kabbalah. Although he is respected in the town for his teachings, he is expelled for being an immigrant.
During his expulsion from Sighet, Moshe the Beadle is captured by the German army. Afterward, he is placed into one of their Nazi concentration camps. He is the first person in the town of Sighet to experience the horrors of the Holocaust. His time in the camps shows him that no Jewish person is truly safe in the war. Despite the inhumane treatment he undergoes in the camp, Moshe manages to escape. He decides to return to Sighet to warn others.
Once he returns, Moshe the Beadle becomes the laughing stock of the town. World War II continues. Nazi Germany slowly gains more control over the territories of other European countries. Yet, the people of Sighet remain blissfully unaware of the strive and terrors of the conflict. Moshe tries to warn the Jewish community of the Holocaust and the dangers of concentration camps. However, people prefer to believe that he has lost his mind rather than believe in his tales. In the end, Moshe’s warnings remain unheard, and the war finally reaches Sighet.
Moshe is important to Wiesel. He allows the Nobel Peace Prize-winning author to depict Jewish persecution during WWII. Wiesel begins the story with him as his unprecedented experiences in a concentration camp allow the author to use Moshe for exposition for the readers. Through him, the writer shows the oppression of the Jewish people in the war. When Elie
Wiesel thinks of Moshe, he also remembers his Kabbalah lessons. The character is important as through his conversations with Moshe, Wiesel explores Judaism. his beliefs and convictions, and how they influenced him during the time of great suffering and trials. Moshe teaches Elie that searching for the right answers is meaningless, and it is better to ask God the right questions. Overall, Moshe the Beadle’s lessons and example help the young Elie Wiesel endure his detention by the Germans and approach his experiences during the war from a spiritual and philosophical perspective.