The book shows Eliezer’s struggle with faith in God. This theme is quite dominant throughout the story. For instance, other characters like Akiba Drumer, among others lose faith in God. In the face of fiery problems, God seems silent on them. Moreover, Jews in concentration camps wonder why their God keeps silent in such unbearable situations.
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Wiesel uses Eliezer to express his feelings during the Holocaust. The tender age of Eliezer makes his experience more terrifying than anticipated. Moreover, it is quite amazing that children study the laws of God at the tender age of twelve as seen in Eliezer’s case. This paper will explore Eliezer struggles with faith in God in unbearable circumstances (Dawidowicz 11).
Eliezer’s Struggle to Keep his Faith in God
The book contains numerous situations where Jews struggle with faith in God. One of those involved is Akiba, who loses his faith in God completely. Eliezer professes faith in God but finds it difficult to keep with it amid spiteful problems. He is shown as a staunch orthodox Jew who even defies his father’s wishes to study Cabbala mystics at a very tender age of twelve. Also, he studies the Jews laws as given in the Torah. His teacher Moshe is important in his religious life as he teachers him of the Cabbala mystics (Wiesel 8).
However, this change after Eliezer witnesses the troubles that face them. Eliezer wonders why he prays to God, yet God does not listen. Eliezer’s faith is based on his studies of Jewish mysticism and laws. He believes that God is everywhere yet he is silent to their needs. Moreover, he believes that God is all knowing and nothing exists without him yet nothing happens to save them from their troubles. Furthermore, he believes that the happenings in the physical world are an emanation of the divine world, yet nothing comes up in their rescue. He, therefore, believes that all activities on earth reflect God’s holiness (Wiesel 26).
However, his faith is irreparably shaken after witnessing the cruelty in the world. He is surprised that such cruelty could reflect divine world. In fact, he wonders why the omnipotent God would allow such acts on them. Moreover, he is more shaken by the cruelty he sees among his own people, those placed in charge of them. This is evident in the supervisor who takes out his gold tooth using a spoon. In essence, the holocaust exposes everybody’s capability of becoming, selfish, cruel, and evil. His faith therefore greatly diminishes yet he keeps the traditions of his heritage. This includes his obedience to his father (Fine 22).
Eliezer’s faith fails him at the end of the story given the unbearable acts he sees. In the face of these spiteful circumstances, he notes that God is quiet and does not respond to them despite their devotion to him. This leads him to note, “God is hanging from the gallows as well.” His situation is unbearable throughout the Holocaust; he loses his family including the father he dearly loved. His faith in God is greatly impaired.
However, he keeps much of the traditions given by God. This is evident in his disappointment that his father is not given a religious sendoff. Moreover, he prays so that he keeps obeying his father. Therefore, although he losses faith in God after these spiteful acts, he keeps some of his traditions and laws. In essence, he does not lose his faith in God completely (Greenberg and Alvin 15).
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Dawidowicz, Lucy. The War Against the Jews: 1933–1945, New York: Bantam Books, 1986. Print.
Fine, Ellen. Legacy of Night: The Literary Universe of Elie Wiesel, Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1982. Print.
Greenberg, Irving and Alvin Rosenfeld. Confronting the Holocaust: The Impact of Elie Wiesel, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1978. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night, New York: Hill and Wang Press, 2006. Print.