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Elie’s Faith in “Night”

In the novel Night by Elie Wiesel, faith is depicted in a lot of scenes. The Auschwitz environment was not friendly and thus it provoked a lot of religious confusion. At one point, Elie says, “Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever” (Wiesel 17). On arrival at the concentration camp, and as the prisoners put their faith in God and wonder what their fate will be, Elie realizes that his mother and younger sister’s fate do not cross his mind very often.

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In the concentration camp, Elie and his fellow Jews can only rely on God and have faith that one day they will be set free. The situation is hopeless with blatant killings that they are forced to watch and severe malnourishment of almost every Jew in the concentration camp. Elie’s faith undergoes a lot of changes induced by the tribulations of the concentration camp (SparkNotes Editors 1).

At the onset, Elie is deeply religious and his hobby is studying Jewish laws and visiting the temple to spend time with his teacher. At this tender age that is obviously characterized by religious naivety, Elie has strong faith in God. In the concentration camp, the prisoners, who are Hasidic, talk about God to take breaks from the stresses of the hardships of the concentration camp One Akiba Drummer sings and expresses his conviction that God is testing the Jews. In this condition, Elie stops praying to liken his situation to the Job of the Bible. He thinks that God has forsaken him and thus he questions the absolute justice of God (SparkNotes Editors 1). This can is an indication that the hardships he is going through are affecting his faith.

As the condition in the prison worsens, Elie drifts further from his faith in God. While witnessing the hanging of a young boy who is linked to rebel groups, he finds himself thinking that God had hidden his face not to see the actions of his creation. This could be interpreted as substantial questioning of God’s power and abilities. He also feels that a fellow Jew’s idea that it is God who is hanged could be, in some way, right. Somebody asks “Where is God? Where is he?” (Wiesel 35), and another behind Elie answers, “Where is He, Here He is- He is hanging here in this gallows …” (Wiesel 35). This can be seen as an expression of hopelessness because for God to die, he must have given up on their condition. In the same way, if God dies, the Jews can not rely on him anymore. He continually becomes rebellious and accuses God of inflicting the sufferings on them and even when the time for fasting comes, he does not fast. The prisoners lose their faith in God that one rabbi concludes that God had forsaken them (SparkNotes Editors 1).

It is the actions of rabbi Eliahou’s son that provoke a reevaluation of his faith and hope. He swears to never abandon his father and in a way, this brings him closer to his faith in God. He develops some faith and in the end, he makes it out of the camp alive. This story of Elie shows how God is always faithful when we lose faith in him. God saves Elie from malnutrition, execution, sicknesses etcetera and ensures that he gets out of the camp alive (SparkNotes Editors 1).

References

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Night.” SParkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web.

Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam Books, 1979.

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