A Man Loses His Faith

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The Holocaust was the mass murder of six million Jews and millions of other people leading up to, and during, World War II. The killings took place in Europe between 1933 and 1945. They were organized by the German Nazi party which was led by Adolf Hitler. In Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’, Wiesel is a little boy who gets taken from his home and put into a concentration camp. Wiesel meets Moishe the Beadle in Sighet, Romania in 1941. Elie was already faithful. He wanted to have a relationship with Moishe to further his understanding of his faith. With Moishe's guidance, Elie begins studying the Torah and Jewish religion, but his faith is tested when police deport Moishe to Poland. On the way there, the Germans stop the train car and massacre the passengers. Moishe manages to escape and tell the people of Sighet about the Gestapo, but no one believes him. The motif of faith is significant in ‘Night’ through Moishe the Beadle’s guiding of Elie praying and ensuring his trust in God, through Akiba Drumer reciting the Kaddish to the unfaithful Jews in the camps, and also through Wiesel’s constant conflict with his own beliefs.

At the beginning of ‘Night’ Wiesel is very passionate about his faith in Judaism. Elie has a very strong desire to learn about the Kabbalah which is a Jewish Mysticism and wants to learn everything he can about it, and he wanted to find a teacher and when he did it was Moishe the Beadle. Elie’s father states, “You are too young for that. Maimonides tells us that one must be thirty before venturing into the world of mysticism” (Wiesel 4). Elie’s dad is explaining to Elie that he is way too young to learn the Kabbalah that most people learn it when they are thirty. Elie didn’t care what his father said, Elie knew a lot about the Kabbalah, and he wanted to further his knowledge. Elie states, “I succeeded on my own in finding a master for myself in the person of Moishe the beadle' (Wiesel 4). Elie explains that he found success in himself by finding a teacher as good as Moishe the beadle.

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The Kaddish is a hymn of praises to God found in Jewish prayer services. Akiba Drumer asked the other Jews in the camp to read the Kaddish for him when he left, Akiba says, “in three days, I’ll be gone… Say the Kaddish for me” (Wiesel 77). Here Akiba is asking the Jews to read the Kaddish for him when he leaves. After he leaves, “The work was crushing. And three days after he left, we forgot to say Kaddish” (Wiesel 77). Everyone in the camp forgets to recite the Kaddish for Akiba because the labor is getting extreme. Everyone is losing their faith; Elie is saying, “We tried to raise his spirits, but he wouldn’t listen to anything we said. He just kept repeating that it was over for him, that he could no longer fight, he had no more strength, no more faith” (Wiesel 76). Here Elie is explaining that Akiba Drumer is done he stopped fighting and that he gave up. Akiba doesn’t care what happens anymore he lost all his strength and most importantly he lost his faith.

In the book ‘Night’, one of Elie’s biggest conflicts is with his belief in God. In the beginning of the book Elie’s relationship with God seemed to be strong, he got a teacher to help him and guide him in teaching Wiesel the Kabbalah. After being taken to Auschwitz his whole life changes. Elie’s faith is completely taken away from him. Wiesel started to lose his faith very rapidly to even questioning if god exists and why he would do such a thing to all these people. Elie explains, “I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute justice” (Wiesel 45). Elie is emphasizing that he knew god was there, but he doubted that he was even doing anything to stop what was going on. Then as time goes on Elie feels like God has left and abandoned him and all the other Jews. Wiesel states, “my eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man” (Wiesel 68). In this point of the story Elie has completely given up in his faith in God; Wiesel completely stops praying, and he knows that God cannot be there because he is doing all this to him and all the Jews.

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