Essay on Night summer reading

Submitted By cjb4459
Words: 996
Pages: 4

Casey Brower
Mrs. Sorrells
Honors 2
25 August 2014
A Test of Faith, Love, and Survival (Theme 4) While the effects of the choices one makes may vary between positive and negative, they will often possess the power to greatly alter both their identity and innocence. Instances of this can be observed throughout Elie Wiesel’s Night. In Wiesel’s novel it is apparent that he and others were greatly impacted and changed by the decisions they made. Sometimes these decisions were made to benefit others, but ultimately most were self-serving. At times the choices one made could even be life or death. Those involved in the events of Night were often pushed into decisions as significant as questioning their faith, their allegiance to loved ones, and bringing harm to others in the name of self-preservation. While most of those sent to concentration camps were there for their Jewish faith, many began to question religion once subjected to such horrid circumstances. One prominent example of this is Wiesel’s struggle to maintain a strong trust in God. Before his admittance to Auschwitz, Wiesel’s faith seemed unfailing, as he prayed every day and longed to study Kabbalah. The first time Wiesel felt anger towards God was shortly after his arrival at the camp when he stated, “The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for” (Wiesel 33)? Even though Wiesel’s perception of religion was forever distorted, to an extent he managed to retain a belief in his faith. While some men who shared the camp with Wiesel spoke of God and his mysterious ways, Wiesel felt differently. He said, “I was not denying His existence, but I doubted his absolute justice” (Wiesel 45). Wiesel was not the only individual whose confidence in God faltered throughout the book. After escaping Gestapo firing squads near Kolomay, not even Moishe the Beadle, the jack-of-all-trades in a shtbil, could bring himself to continue speaking of Kabbalah. Even for the most devout Jews, once one endured the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust it was difficult to not question a supposedly righteous God. Another significant decision made by those transported to concentration camps was if, and by what means, they should support their loved ones. The son of Rabbi Eliahu was one who determined he would no longer support a loved one, namely Rabbi Eliahu himself. During the evacuation of Buna prisoners, Wiesel noted witnessing Rabbi Eliahu’s son running in front of his ever-growing weaker father. Wiesel came to the conclusion Rabbi Eliahu’s son had left his father to increase his own chances of survival, so at this point, Wiesel prayed, “Oh God, Master of Universe, give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahu’s son has done” (Wiesel 91). Although Wiesel’s decision was more subconscious than deliberate, he did eventually succumb to actions comparable to those of Rabbi Eliahu’s son. After arriving in Buchenwald, Wiesel continued to aid his ailing father, Shlomo, but in a reluctant manner. To Wiesel, his unwillingness to service his father was as contemptible as Rabbi Eliahu’s son leaving his father behind. When Shlomo finally passed, the thought “Free at last” (Wiesel 112)! lingered in Wiesel’s mind. With the emotional and occasional physical tolls one must pay to care for their loved ones, especially in the deathly circumstances of concentration camps, it is no surprise prisoners would make the taxing choice of giving up on family. Lastly, those in concentration camps would frequently opt for self-preservation, even when it meant direct harm to others. On a stop during the transport to Buchenwald, German workers threw bread into the cattle cars only to witness intense fighting between the hundreds of starving men. In Wiesel’s truck, a man was beaten to death by his son Meir for a crust, and moments later, Meir was attacked for the same scrap of food. “They jumped him. Others joined in. When