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Haynes 1

Anthony Haynes
Mr. Gary Bigelow
English 10
The Onus and Obligation of Faith During the Long Night
Faith is a key catalyst in the evolution and perseverance of the human spirit, for faith is
something specific to man alone and is perhaps what embellishes the definition of humanity. It
enables man to continue despite trials, look beyond the horizon for something of a far greater
caliber than the immediate setting, release accountability or provide a figurehead to take fault for
worldly occurrences, while also lending an opportunity to find oneself. But even so, if that
implicit trust that is embodied by faith is betrayed then a wound unlike any other may be
inflicted and fester to a point of becoming a scourge. This much can be observed in the firsthand
Holocaust account, Night, by Elie Wiesel. In Elie’s experience the casting of faith fills the role of
an officiating power to hold someone or something accountable for the horrible events and it
carries the responsibility of finding something one could place their tacit trust into without fear
of betrayal, disappointment, or corruption. As for the meaning or contribution faith brings to the
work: faith waxes and wanes during the course of the Long Night, but the clandestine offering
that it finally produces is a means to discovering one’s true and unabashed identity and how
strongly the conviction in one’s beliefs can be in conjunction with how drastically they may


In this sudden development. But when men burned other men to ash and no one but the 2 . Wiesel is almost too naïve for the austerity of the setting in which he then found himself. I was no longer able to lament. so much so that he asked his father why the world had not worked toward an immediate end to them: “The world? The world is not interested in us. I felt very strong. ourselves. Wiesel displays his overwhelming rage as it froths over his internal and emotional walls. resulting in the God he had once praised to be utterly perfect to become reduced to the offender in question. Upon Elie’s initial arrival into Birkenau he was astounded that such terrible things were even possible let alone permitted in such a day and age. When Elie recounts his fervent attitude towards Rosh Hashanah in years past he expresses how he himself was the one to bare the weight of the world upon his shoulders. but as his eyes were subjected to Auschwitz’ haze he in turn began to cast that weight upon God: “But now I no longer pleaded for anything. even the crematoria” (Wiesel 33). his intention was to convey his disbelief at the world’s lack of action. there is a strong conviction between all societies that someone must be held responsible for such things. In essence all that Wiesel was subjected to up until that point in time before the camps was of his own doing and therefore he was responsible for the consequences. In the vein of accountability.Haynes 2 The unfortunate truth of life is that unfortunate things are bound to happen. those who have the power to do something are expected to-whether it is a statement from the Catholic Church or Allied military actions-and Wiesel’s disdain or disbelief has a direct causation with those authorities shedding all of their expected responsibility as a civilized people. but nonetheless he expresses an ingrained part of human thought processes and feelings through these lines. but regardless of who is at the receiving end. whether it is to our loved ones. Today everything is possible. which he understood. God the accused” ( 68). or an unknown name without a face who may only register as a statistic. our friends. I was the accuser. On the contrary.

Elie also brings to light from memory his prayer to someone he had once placed implicit trust in yet they had deceived him in a sense and that trust was damaged: “And in spite of myself. Master of the Universe. all his promises. During Elie’s time in the Auschwitz infirmary due to his infected foot he encountered a man. Humans are creatures of a social nature. give me the strength to never do what Rabbi Eliahu’s son has done” (91). comfort. Wiesel saw the blood of millions flowing between God’s fingers all the same. they rely on one another for survival. a prayer formed inside me.’ ‘Oh God. Wiesel is showing that trust may stem from different sources and be inspired in order to fulfill different wishes specific to each person. and this man was disturbingly destitute in whom he placed his faith in: “I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises.Haynes 3 Almighty appeared to have sufficient power to stop the atrocities. but men also turn to God to satisfy this union and provide this distilled trust. yet with this particular statement 3 . but that the derivations that such trust comes from may be affected by outside influences and experiences. and companionship. When Wiesel recounts this experience he was enraged yet it also brought to his attention something interesting in how the relationship of faith between man and his object of conviction functioned: that in times of severe pain and suffering man may place his trust not in who he believed would provide the convictions he desired but in someone who would carry through with all that he had pledged. though he did not execute them personally. he was to be judged even more harshly. to the Jewish people” (81). and yet still that Great and Glorious God did not intervene. Wiesel explained throughout the course of the book how his faith had faltered with every passing moment of mutilation and pain. and under the jurisdiction of companionship is the necessity for trust of an unparalleled firmness in order to sustain a true bond. In essence. a prayer to this God in whom I no longer believed.

terrifying madness that had erupted in history and in the conscience of mankind” (VII). even if it proved only a sliver.Haynes 4 he exemplifies how a bond of such an ornate nature could not simply disappear. or on the contrary to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness. and lessons derived from failure and hardship it is possible for a man or woman to realize who they are at the very depths of their core as a person. yet the role faith played in opening the road to knowledge is that it gave him the willpower to carry on with the notion of writing the book. was possible due to how deeply the roots of such a relationship can be. despite how grievously they may be marred. But we don’t understand them. it proved that a return of faith or the reinstatement of Wiesel’s trust in God. Because they dwell in the depths of our souls… The real answers you will only find within yourself” (5). faith is of course used in accordance to worship a God. the immense. But Wiesel also acknowledges that in contact with that God or Gods there comes a personal journey that must be forded by the individual affected. and faith is one of the most crucial tools in ascertaining this reality. In the preface Wiesel analyzes the purpose of his writing his account and its role in developing his understanding of how the conscience of all men worked: “Did I write it so as not to go mad. In this remark on Moishe’s behalf a portion of the purpose of faith in and of itself is found. Through the means of trials. Early in Elie’s life he met a man by the name of Moishe the Beadle and in time Moishe acted as a spiritual teacher for Elie. during one of their many conversations Moishe revealed a great insight into the purpose of faith and how it functions: “Man draws closer to God through the questions we ask him… Man asks and God replies. This is a process of understanding that resulted due to surpassing multiple obstacles. difficulties. For 4 . without any artificiality or masks of a guarding disposition. and over the course of that internal journey answers to both prayers may be found alongside revelations of who one is as a person.

Master of the Universe. strengthening or working towards abolishing the pre-established thought processes. Almighty. These occurrences can swing one’s opinion in either direction. and his writing then gave him the opportunity to study the thought processes of mankind during those times. faith that he would make a significant difference in awareness of the atrocities of the Holocaust if the book were written. become manipulated by choice events.Haynes 5 as it were Wiesel had sworn to himself to never recount or speak of anything he experienced during the Holocaust. but even with the most resolute convictions choice events may alter the certainty one may have at a mere moment’s notice. and then eventually transpire into something completely contradictory to the initial statement or 5 . I was not denying His existence. who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night… Raised be Thy Holy Name. I concurred with Job. but I doubted His absolute justice” (45). In a moment of pure and adamant anger the total transition of Elie’s stance of faith in God and his righteousness can be observed: “How could I say to Him: Blessed be Thou. with the utmost belief in God and his benevolence. With these words Wiesel demonstrates how even the mind of someone who initially could see life in no other light may in time begin to reconsider and reevaluate many personal ideals. for having chosen us to be slaughtered on Thine Altar” (67). In this moment Wiesel uses his own life as an example of how a deeply held conviction can be felt. yet ultimately faith convinced him to rescind. Originally Elie is an extremely religious and faithful person. Faith is fervently rooted in human culture and the ideas that are constituted from it can be extremely rigid or passionate. yet over the course of his experiences that begins to waiver: “As for me I ceased to pray. But a key piece of information is the exact experiences that were endured that led to the devolvement of the previous ideals.

although in this influence and interconnectedness faith has several duties in which it serves. Wiesel was able to use his firsthand experience to explain and denature faith to its basic parts and then show them in recurring themes in his novel. and lastly it also exemplifies the constant struggle where views or principles are solidifying. the contribution of faith to Night.Haynes 6 belief. decaying. 6 . and then reforming into other things with experience. however. where one can divulge everything inside their souls without fear of any mishaps to result or to have such knowledge turned against them. as well as in Elie Wiesel’s novel Night: faith is used to dictate responsibility in society. both in general life. for both happenings of a good and a bad nature. Faith is an undeniable cornerstone in humanity’s construction and has evolved as has man. it may be used as a filter for trust of the most refined and intimate level. whether it be God to be held accountable or the individual at God’s mercy. is that it allows people to engage in self-discovery through to the heart.