Understanding of God – “Night” by Elie Wiesel Essay
The Night by Elie Wiesel explores the painful experiences of the narrator (Elie) during the Holocaust. Elie had a deep connection with God in his childhood. The narrator studies the Torah and Cabala, attend the synagogue and prays until he weeps to reflect his deep faith and connection with God (Wiesel 3). Elie had never imagined his life without God.
However, actions of the Nazi make Elie lose his belief and faith in God (Grabois 1). It is important to note that the narrator struggles to keep his faith in God. This happened when Elie went to Auschwitz. He notes, “Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust” (Wiesel 34).
Elie started to wonder why innocent people would suffer while there was God. However, Elie never lost his faith in God completely. While at the camp, Elie noted that some men discussed God, sins, mysteries, and redemption (Sternlicht 29). These characters doubted God and His absolute power, but they never ceased to believe in His existence. Akiba Drumer says:
“God is testing us. He wants to see whether we are capable of overcoming our base instincts, of killing the Satan within ourselves. We have no right to despair. And if He punishes us mercilessly, it is a sign that He loves us that much more…” (Wiesel 45).
This encounter with Akiba Drumer helps Elie to maintain his belief in God throughout the Holocaust. However, Elie had to request Akiba Drummer to recite Kaddish for him. Elie reflects an inner struggle with the belief in God, “Blessed be God’s name? Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled….” (Wiesel 67-68). Elie provides several reasons why his belief in God is weak while he is in the concentration camp.
He believes that God is responsible for the massacre that humanity experiences at “Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death” (Wiesel 67). Elie wonders how he could once again praise the name of God after the massacre (Donadio 1-2). The narrator says that he was no longer able to “lament or plead anything to God” (Wiesel 68). Elie’s struggle makes him change roles with God, “I was the accuser, God the accused” (Wiesel 68).
Elie realizes how he was alone without God or man in the world. His faith sank further. Although Elie questions the whole concept of faith in God, he never stops to ask questions that connect him with God. His anger reflects an inner struggle and deep sentiments for belief in God. Elie constantly refers to religious metaphors to show that he still believes in God (Devera 1-2).
However, Elie restores his faith in God, “My God, Lord of the Universe, give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son has done” (Wiesel 91). Elie realizes that he is weak without strengths from God and asks for power and strengths from Him. The narrator cannot face the death of his father on his own, and he regrets that his father had no religious memorial. A prayer rose from Elie’s heart to God to show that Elie had not completely lost his belief in God. The narrator seeks help from God when he can no longer control himself. At the end of the novel, one can observe that Elie’s faith in God remains intact.
Devera, John. Eliezer’s struggle to maintain faith in God in Night, 2008. Web.
Donadio, Rachel. The Story of ‘Night’, 2008. Web.
Grabois, Andrew. Elie Wiesel and the Holocaust, 2008. Web.
Sternlicht, Sanford. Student Companion to Elie Wiesel. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2003. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.
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