In his autobiography, Night, Elie Wiesel relates how the atrocities committed during the holocaust deeply effect his belief in God and his relationship with his father. In the beginning of the book, Elie's relationships with his father is not so intimate. At the same time, his relationship to God is extremely close. By the end of the book these relationships change, leaving Elie closer to his father than to God.
Before the Nazi occupation of his hometown, Sighet, Elie's relationship with God and his outlook on religion was quite extreme for that of a Jewish teenager in the 1930's. When asked why he prays to God, Elie thinks to himself, "Why do I pray?
Why do I live? Why do I breathe?"(p2) To Elie, praying was a natural part of life. Although it went against his father's wishes, Elie spent most of his time studying the Kabbalah with his mentor, Moshe. In a demonstration of his commitment to Judaism, Elie writes, "We would read together, ten times over, the same page of the Zohar. Not to learn it by heart, but to extract the divine essence from it." (p3)
As opposed to his relationship with God, Elie's relationship with his own father was not intimate. Elie remarks, "My father was more concerned with others, then with his own family." (p2) Throughout most of Elie's teenage life, Moshe acted as his father. Elie would tend to go to Moshe for guidance, and for other things that you would expect a son to go to his father for. However, as the prejudice against the Jews progresses, Elie's relationships with his father and with God begin to make a dramatic shift.
When initially forced into the ghetto (and from there into the concentration camps), Elie and the rest of the Jews of Sighet were deprived of their basic freedoms and slowly dehumanized. Laws were put into effect that imposed curfews, prohibited the practice of religion, and limited the ownership of property. At first, Elie tries to follow his instincts and pray to God for help. "Oh God, Lord of...
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