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Loss Of Faith And Religion In Ellie Wiesel’s Night

1817 words - 7 pages

The Holocaust survivor Abel Herzberg has said, “ There were not six million Jews murdered; there was on murder, six million times.” The Holocaust is one of the most horrific events in the history of mankind, consisting of the genocide of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, mentally handicapped and many others during World War 2. Adolf Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany, and his army of Nazis and SS troops carried out the terrible proceedings of the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel is a Jewish survivor of the Nazi death camps, and suffers a relentless “night” of terror and torture in which humans were treated as animals. Wiesel discovers the “Kingdom of Night” (118), in which the history of the Jewish people is altered. This is Wiesel’s “dark time of life” and through his journey into night he can’t see the “light” at the end of the tunnel, only continuous dread and darkness. Night is a memoir that is written in the style of a bildungsroman, a loss of innocence and a sad coming of age. This memoir reveals how Eliezer (Ellie Wiesel) gradually loses his faith and his relationships with both his father (dad), and his Father (God). Sickened by the torment he must endure, Wiesel questions if God really exists, “Why, but why should I bless him? Because he in his great might, had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death? (67). Throughout the Holocaust, Wiesel’s faith is not permanently shattered. Although after his father dies, his faith in god and religion is shaken to the core, and arguably gone. Wiesel, along with most prisoners, lose their faith in God. Wiesel’s loss of religion becomes the loss of identity, humanity, selfishness, and decency.

Since the time of his childhood, Wiesel was extremely interested in the Jewish religion, and studied the Talmud and the Kabbala. He was deeply observant and devout for a 12 year-old. He and his father attended services at temple regularly, prayed, and studied the history of the Jewish people. He was fond of the Jewish religion and wished to study Kabbalah, which is an ancient Jewish tradition that teaches the deepest insights into the essence of God, His interaction with the world, and the purpose of creation. This is very strange for a boy to study, and because of this his father won’t find him a teacher, “You are too young for that. Maimonides tells us that one must be thirty before venturing into the world of mysticism, a world fraught with peril” (4). Frustrated and determined to find a teacher to teach him the mysticism of the world, Wiesel meets Moishe the Beatle, “I succeeded on my own in finding a master for myself in the person of Moishe the Beatle” (4). Moishe asks Wiesel provoking questions about the religion and praying to deepen his knowledge, “Why did I live? Why did I breathe?” (4). Even when Wiesel is in the ghetto, he still has faith and is completely orthodox. Because Wiesel is extremely dedicated to his study of the Jewish religion, it is...

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