Night Faith in Elie Wiesel's Night: Applications Thesis

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Faith in Elie Wiesel's Night:

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Thesis on Night Faith in Elie Wiesel's Night: Applications Assignment

In what is one of his most popular works, Night, Elie Wiesel tells the poignant story of his adolescence as a Jew during World War II. At fifteen, he is a studious boy in a Jewish village, studying that Talmud with Moshe the Beadle against the recommendations of his father. Weeks later, young Elie is thrown out of his home in Transylvania, packed onto a train, and transported to Auschwitz and eventually Buchenwald, where he would witness the hardening of his heart and the destruction of his faith. While Wiesel's Night is an important historical account of the Holocaust and the Jews' tribulations during the horrific event, it is also an account of a young man's struggle with his faith. At first a strong believer for his age, he struggles to keep his life, while relinquishing his faith, during his imprisonment. Because of this, he also takes note of the role faith plays in the lives of the other Jews undergoing similar circumstances. From the false hope that circulates among the community before they are deported, to the religious prisoners who are not shown mercy, to the deaths of his family and friends, Wiesel witnesses tragedy after tragedy without an intervention from a higher power. At the end of the book, then, he is left with a respect for faith, but an inability to rekindle his own personal faith. Although Wiesel's Jewish faith was affected by his experiences, his reaction is not limited to this faith. Instead, many religious individuals who were subject to torture and the deaths of their friends and family would most likely have a similar reaction. Through a chronological examination of the Holocaust's effects on Wiesel's faith, an understanding of the relationship between religious persecution and faith can be assessed.

At the beginning of the book, Wiesel can be described as a deeply religious and passionate boy. He even admits that he "believed profoundly" (Wiesel 1); he cried during his prayers because "something inside me...felt the need for tears" (2). In Moshe the Beadle he finds a companion with whom he can dig deeper into his faith. It is Moshe that leads him in the questions he should ask of God, and Moshe who becomes his instructor in the "secrets of Jewish mysticism" (3). To Wiesel, Moshe becomes the epitome of the Jewish religion, much like a trusted priest or elder would be to a young student of the Catholic faith. Just as Wiesel becomes convinced that "Moshe the Beadle would draw [Wiesel] with him into eternity," many young Catholic students put so much trust and love into those who have instructed them in the faith that if this leader were to be compromised in some way, these young students' faiths would also be compromised. Any religious person who has had a Sunday school teacher, priest, or pious friend who either suffered without divine intervention or whose actions cast a dark light on their faith can sympathize with Wiesel as Moshe is deported and returns as what the rest of the community believes is a crazy personal. Here, Wiesel's faith is first tested. It is furthermore stretched by these circumstances when the rest of the community refuses to give up hope, believing that their fate will not be as severe as others have intimated. The fate of his mentor, Moshe the Beadle, paired with this action by the rest of the believers tests Wiesel's faith even before deportation. He sees the steadfast hope and prayers of pious people unanswered. He watches his mentor ridiculed in his mission to warn the other residents of the Sighet. Most importantly, he sees these people continue in their faiths even after their hopes have been dashed, their prayers have been unanswered, and they have been made to endure extremely harsh circumstances.

In a similar situation, I would watch my faith wane, just as Wiesel did. Like the Jewish people, Christians are taught to rejoice in suffering, and to trust God to deliver… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Night Faith in Elie Wiesel's Night: Applications."  Essaytown.com.  January 4, 2009.  Accessed February 27, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/night-faith-elie-wiesel-applications/51280.