Surviving the Holocaust can alter a person’s faith – it can either strengthen it or cause it to falter. In 1941, in the village of Sighet, Romania, twelve-year-old Elie Wiesel spends the majority of his time studying the Talmud and exploring other aspects of the Jewish religion. One day, all foreign Jews, including Elie’s instructor, Moishe the Beadle, are expelled from Sighet. Upon his return, Moishe tries to warn the Jews of the horrific dangers that lie ahead. They all refuse to listen to him and those who do listen refuse to believe him, including young Elie. Soon enough, German Army vehicles start making their appearance on the streets of Sighet. Over time the Germans strip the Jews of their rights and transport them to ghettos. From these ghettos, the Jews are transferred to smaller ghettos, and then concentration camps. It is here that people are eternally separated from their family members who they never see again. Over the next year, Elie and his father fight for survival, as they endure life threatening conditions and nearly come face to face with death. Four months before the liberation of Buchenwald, Elie’s father dies, leaving Elie to survive on his own. Elie survives the Holocaust through a battle of conscience - first believing in God, then resisting his faith in God, and ultimately replacing his faith with obligation to his father. Elie’s belief in God guides his life before his first encounters with the concentration camps. Elie met Moishe the Beadle in 1941. He is nearly thirteen and is searching for an instructor to guide his studies of Kabbalah. “By day I studied Talmud and by night I would run to the synagogue to weep over the destruction of the temple” (p.3). Elie’s life revolves around his belief in his religion. His devotion to Judaism stems from his father’s commitment to the faith; however, Elie’s curiosity about the mystical side of the religion ignites his interest in the Kabbalah. While watching Elie pray, Moishe asks...
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