Elie’s Spiritual Journey In Elie Wisel’s Night, Elie goes through an incredible spiritual change. In the beginning of his book he is striving to become the most devoted Jew he can. This is illustrated by his “crying because something inside me felt the need to cry” as he was praying in the temple. His devotion to Judism is also shown by his desire to study the Kabbalah. When his father discourages him from studying this “world of mysticism” Elie begins looking for his own teacher, and he finds Moishe the Beadle. Moishe helps Elie see why he prays and guide him in the teaching of the Kabbalists.
One of the first times Elie’s faith is tested is when he first gets to Birkenau and sees the crematorium. There people are expecting death yet his father says “May His name be celebrated and sanctified. ” Elie gets mad at his father for saying this, because Elie had an expectation from his devotion to Judism. He expects to have a long life with minimal trials thanks to his devotion. However, when his faith is tested he says: “For the first time I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent.
What was there to thank him for? ” This shows he is disappointed in God. The Bible says “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Elie’s attitude is not thankful and even hating. We see that Elie also feels like God has left Elie and the Jews. In chapter 4 a young boy is hanged from the gallows. As he slips in and out of death someone says: “For God’s sake, where is God? ” Elie says “Where He is? This is where – hanging here from this gallows. ” Elie now believes God is dead or has forgotten about His people.
His response shows that he has begun to totally disregard God, and even question himself as well as his faith. Elie is upset that God is allowing the Jews to be slaughtered. “You have betrayed (the inmates) allowing them to be tortured, slaughtered, gassed, and burned! What do they do? They pray before you! They praise your name! ” This statement from chapter 5, during Rosh Hashanah, shows that Elie is definitely mad at God for letting the Holocaust happen. The next two paragraphs show how Elie’s faith has been shattered. “I knew my sins grieved the Almighty so I pleaded for forgiveness. . .
But, now I no longer pleaded for anything. . . I was the accuser, God the accused. ” These two statements reveal that Elie feels the power of the Holy Spirit to ask for forgiveness, yet he ignores it. He chooses instead to accuse God and to block out His voice. Despite all these times when he has denied God, Elie still begins his Nobel Peace Prize speech with a prayer. He goes on to talk about a small boy (him) that has emerged from the Kingdom of Night, the Holocaust. He said “A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. Elie also talks about his Judism. He tells everyone that his “First response is to Jewish fears. ” He wants everyone to know that he will not stand by as his people are persecuted. As he draws his speech to a close he says, “Should Israel lose but one war, it would mean her end and ours as well. But I have faith. ” This comment as well as his entire speech, shows that Elie has, perhaps, restored his faith in God, despite his bitterness. However, only God knows his heart. Only God knows what that little boy crying in the temple went through, as he traveled through the Kingdom of Night.
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