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Silent Night

While reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel, I came across a lot of key ideas and themes that ran consistently through out the book. Three major ideas that I felt were important were Elie’s trial to keep faith in his God, the use of silence and night and finally, having to keep your mind at ease amongst all the inhumanity. Although these ideas are different, they play off of one another.

Elie’s biggest struggle is to maintain his belief and fate in God’s hands. Elie’s battle with his faith is a prevailing conflict in Night. At the beginning of the memoir, his faith in God is undeniable. When asked why he prays to God, he answers, “Why did I pray? . . . Why did I live? Why did I breathe?” His belief is unstoppable; compassionate God is content, and he cannot imagine living without faith in a higher being. But shortly into the memoir, this faith comes up against several hurdles as he tries to prove his faith to God. Eliezer’s faith started at a young age. While most teenaged boys were out playing in the streets, he was in the temple studying the Cabbala even if it was against his father’s wishes. Mosh the Beadle helped him to focus his studies in Jewish mysticism and come to the conclusion that God is everywhere in the world, that nothing exists without God. Elie has grown up believing that everything on Earth reflects God’s holiness and power and everything is influenced by his holiness. His faith is based on the idea that God is everywhere, all the time, that his godliness touches every aspect of his daily life. Since God is of no sin and his studies teach him that God is everywhere in the world Elie as a younger boy is naive to think the world must therefore be good.

Elie’s faith in the goodness of the world is almost destroyed by the cruelty and evil he encountered during the Holocaust. However, it took a first hand experience for him to realize that the world is full of hate. As he hears about and experiences the Holocaust his faith starts to die. A good example of this is on the day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, thousands of men came to attend services. Thousands of voices repeated, "Blessed be the Name of the Eternal!" Eliezer thought, "Why, but why should I bless Him? Because he had thousands of children burned in his pits?... How could I say to Him: "Blessed art thou, Eternal, Master of the Universe, Who chose us from among the races to be tortured day and night? Praised be Thy Holy Name, Thou Who hast chosen us to be butchered on Thine altar?” This shows that through his journey, he has come to question why such a divine and pure God would let such cruelty be unleashed onto his people. His faith is equally shaken by the cruelty and selfishness he sees among the prisoners. He sees that the Holocaust exposes the self-interest, malicious, and cruelty of which everybody, the Nazis, his fellow prisoners, his fellow Jews, his brethren and even himself is capable of such sin. If the world is so horrible and cruel Elie feels God either must be horrible and cruel or must not exist at all. His feelings are shared within the Jewish community during that time. This is significant because for a religion to exist there has to be people who believe in it and during the Holocaust many lost faith. Yet those who survived ironically enough used the “evil and disgusting” God to find understanding and a place to put their mind at ease. Eliezer does struggle with his faith, but his fight should not be confused with a complete abandonment of his faith, although possible, it’s hard to break a Jewish man from his beliefs. Elie’s battle doesn’t weaken his belief in God, it helps him become closer to Him. When Moshe the Beadle is asked why he prays, he replies, “I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions.” In other words, questioning is fundamental to the idea of faith in God. The Holocaust forces Eliezer to ask horrible questions about the nature of good and evil and about whether God exists. But the very fact that he asks these questions reflects his commitment to God. Elizer’s struggle with his faith is one of millions. His decision to include such detail and reference to the Jewish faith in his memoir helped to get across how strongly their way of life was and is depicted by the word of God.

Eliezer’s struggles and battles weren’t confined to the borders of his faith, there were also battles with the cruelty of the people. Through the memoir you can feel his frustration towards the actions of his comrades. He exhausted trying to get a greater understanding of why the people were doing such things. His cynicism results from his horrid experiences with the Nazi discrimination and the cruelty of his fellow prisoners. Experiences like this usually bring out the worst in people and Elie was no exception. Although he didn’t physically exert cruelty on his father and prison mates, he still found himself having such thoughts. His revelation of people’s behaviors is a common topic in the memoir. A lot of Elie’s thoughts revolve around this. The first hardhearted cruelty Eliezer experiences are that of the Nazis. Yet, when the Nazis first appear, they do not seem monstrous



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(2011, 04). Night. Retrieved 04, 2011, from

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