Elie Wiesel exhibits his struggle in religion and faith in a unique manner. As a Jew, Eliezer was brought up to be a staunch believer in God. However, the same is not evidenced throughout the book. Eliezer grows up believing that God is absolute and omnipresent. He is a staunch Jew who does not compromise his faith until he starts to experience horrendous encounters. Eliezer’s acts of kindness and humanity are a reflection of his faith in God. It is surprising to find that Eliezer is knowledgeable on matters of faith as he ardently studies about God.
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The initial belief by Eliezer is that the world must be a holy place, where godliness is reflected in every aspect of life. However, this changes when Eliezer witnesses the holocaust. First, Eliezer is dismay that people could be so cruel in the concentration camps. The acts done against the Jews at the concentration camps are inhuman and degrade human dignity. Most Jews at the concentration camps are deprived, killed, and tortured. The very same Jews serve and worship the mighty God. At this point, his faith in God conflicts. He does not understand why God would allow such cruelty to happen to his people. At concentration camps, prisoners become selfish and turn against each other. At some point, Eliezer is also aware that everyone is susceptible to committing evil. Eliezer sees himself as a cruel and selfish being.
After some reflection, Eliezer likens his situation to that of Job who is a renowned biblical figure (Wiesel 42). At this point, he understands why Job was tempted and destroyed by Satan while God watched (Wiesel 42). He thinks that God is allowing his faith to be tempted. This makes young Eliezer angry and starts to blame God for his tribulations.
Eliezer’s faith is vividly shaken after the lynching and killing of a young boy. He questions whether God deserves the praise of the Jews after witnessing more horrible acts. Eliezer blames and sees God as a traitor to the course of the Jews.
However, with all the horrible doings that Eliezer and his counterparts face during the holocaust, he still retains his faith. The death of “Akiba Drummer after losing his faith” (Wiesel 48) makes Eliezer believe that God still exists. This makes a rabbi and other Jews at the concentration camps to continue observing religious events and days.
One significant encounter that exemplifies Eliezer’s struggle with faith is when he questions Moshe the Beadle. Eliezer seeks to know why Moshe the Beadle prays to God. Moshe replies “I pray to God to give me the strength to ask Him the right questions” (Wiesel 3). This makes Eliezer refer to the bible whenever he feels that his faith is at stake. He fears to deny God completely. Another encounter that shakes Eliezer’s faith is after his father’s death. He notes that the burial of his father did not involve any religious memorial. Eliezer notes that his frustration with faith “is within the faith and not outside it” (Wiesel X).’
In conclusion, Eliezer’s experience and struggle with faith is an example of how the majority of the Jews felt during the holocaust (Wiesel & Wiesel 7). The majority of the Jewish characters in the book struggled with their faith and felt that God was responsible for their suffering. This is an example of humanity’s experience and struggles with faith while faced with tribulations.
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Wiesel, Elie and Wiesel, Marion. Night. London: Penguin Books Limited, 2012. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam Books, 1982. Print.