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Elie Wiesel's Relationship with God in His Memoir 'Night'

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Elie Wiesel's traumatic and haunting memoir ‘Night’ accentuates the trauma experienced by Jews during the Holocaust. Certain occurrences source the importance of relationships in the novel and view how circumstances prove that relationships are important. Wiesel and his family were taken to concentration camps, which caused Wiesel to lose his mother and sister and resulted in him altering his religion and the way he lives. Wiesel’s connection with religion is the most important altercation because that’s what gives him the courage and strength to move forward in life. At first, Wiesel shows strong adherence, then he becomes disenchanted with God’s presence in his life, and eventually reconsiders the position that God plays in his life.

In the beginning, Wiesel's relationship with God in ‘Night’ reveals a deep commitment. Wiesel, with the help of Moche the Beadle, found faith and studied the Zohar. Wiesel wished to spend his life centered around Judaism and devoted all his free time and energy on religious studies, Wiesel showed that faith played an important role in his life, demonstrating that he followed his religion instinctively. When Moche asked him why he prayed, Wiesel couldn’t think of an answer and thought to himself, strange question, “why did I live, why did I breathe?” (14). Wiesel expressed confidence in religion as the situation disintegrated. Wiesel and his followers praised God for their life, and held the belief that God would bring them through a test of struggles, which would hold them alive if they retained their faith. Once they arrived at Auschwitz, they praised God and were able to recover their faith. Wiesel praised God for the simple stuff that helped him and he had a feeling of security and clung to the illusion that God was looking over them and allowing them to overcome the struggles he encountered. When Wiesel's new shoes get coated with mud and not found by the SS Guards, he “thanked God..., for having created mud in His infinite and... wisdom” (47).

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In the next stage of Wiesel relationship with God in ‘Night’ he becomes disappointed with God's power. One way Wiesel achieves this is by questioning God’s supremacy. Within the concentration camps, the jews experienced, torment that made them question their religion. Wiesel was fundamental to his life, but this period is characterised by him distancing himself from God and attempting to work out all the violent emotions of abandonment and injustice. “Why should I bless His name?...had I have to thank him for?” (42). This shows that God wasn’t there for Wiesel when he needed him the most, which lead to Wiesel questioning himself and relationship with God, Wiesel is stating why should I bless him if everything bad is happening to me? Another way that Wiesel shows his frustration with God is by rebelling against the religious principles that he has practiced throughout his life. While the first horrifying night in the concentration camp unfolded, Wiesel has been changed as a person. His beliefs have now disappeared, and he was no longer willing to view the world in the same way, as described in “never shall I forget these moments which murdered my God...” (43). Since all this passed through his subconscious, Wiesel learned to hate God and the religious practices which he had practiced. Since his life was ripped down bit by bit, God meant less and less to him. That was how he couldn't get over the feeling that God was going to protect that. It caused him to rebel against Godt, and he caught himself thinking, “Yes, oh why would I praise him?...” (74).

In the end, Wiesel redefines the importance that God plays in his world. Elie believes that the Holocaust shows everyone's greed and brutality. Not just the Nazis, including the other prisoners, his fellow Jews, and himself. He believes that if the universe is too bad and cruel as God, then he needs to be bad and cruel or it doesn't exists entirely. “... No longer accepted God's silence…act of rebellion and protest against Him” (76). Out of this, Wiesel believes that he's better off alone in a life without God. Wiesel claims he no longer believes in God, but he, in turn, looks to God when he is skeptical of his capability to control himself. “... A prayer rose in my heart, to that God...I no longer believed” (pg. 97).

In ‘Night’, Wiesel's relationship with God experiences highs and lows, which inevitably alters his view of God. Wiesel reveals a sense of commitment to God at the very beginning of the novel, but when he actually encounters the Holocaust, Wiesel becomes dismissive of his spiritual beliefs. As Wiesel evolves and turns himself into a man, at the same time he repudiates the position of God in his life. Wiesel, provides several descriptions of the emotional, spiritual and physical consequences of victims in the Holocaust and, more importantly, a young child. For this cause, ‘Night’ provides a deeper view of the Holocaust, through a greater understanding of such a horrific incident, history will not repeat itself.

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Elie Wiesel’s Relationship with God in His Memoir ‘Night’. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/elie-wiesels-relationship-with-god-in-his-memoir-night/
“Elie Wiesel’s Relationship with God in His Memoir ‘Night’.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/elie-wiesels-relationship-with-god-in-his-memoir-night/
Elie Wiesel’s Relationship with God in His Memoir ‘Night’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/elie-wiesels-relationship-with-god-in-his-memoir-night/> [Accessed 4 Mar. 2024].
Elie Wiesel’s Relationship with God in His Memoir ‘Night’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2024 Mar 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/elie-wiesels-relationship-with-god-in-his-memoir-night/
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