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Monica Long
Mr. Bigs
English 10
April 10, 2014

The Reliance on Faith


Many memoirs come from those who write to send an important message, usually to
those of society. The themes and messages from memoirs are elements that have greatly
impacted the author of the story. Faith can be considered one of the many important themes that
contribute to a memoir, and its objective. In the memoir, Night, written by Elie Wiesel, faith acts
as a savior to Elie throughout his journey, but it also acts as a large letdown and burden for Elie
to carry. The role of faith is constantly changing not only within Elie, but throughout those
around him as well.
Throughout the beginning of the book, Wiesel shows the audience that faith takes a very
large toll on his life, and the lives of those surrounding him. The amount of faith towards God he
and his peers share is very lively. This is especially shown through Moishe the Beadle, a mentor
of Elies. Moishe started out as a very religious character to Elie, an icon. Elie depended largely
on Moishe to grant him with his religious needs that his father would not. They would sit
together to discuss the Kabbalahs revelations and mysteries for hours, when Elie finally said,
And in the course of those evenings I became convinced that Moishe the Beadle would help me
enter eternity (Wiesel 5). Wiesel shows the amount of reliance he has towards Moishe when it
comes to the amount of faith he has, because he is depending on Moishe to be the person to help
him fulfill his religious needs. Because of this, faith is portrayed as something that Elie is very
connected with, and dependent on. Until Moishe is expelled from Sighet, the town they are
residing in, and is sent to a forest where there is a mass murder taking place. When he returns, all

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faith he once had disappeared, which shows the constant change that faith plays throughout the
story. When Wiesel speaks of Moishes new characteristics, he mentions, Moishe was not the
same. The joy in his eyes was gone. He no longer sang. He no longer mentioned either God or
Kabbalah. He spoke only of what he had seen (Wiesel 7). Wiesel foreshadows the changes that
he and others will feel towards their faith once they endure the horrific experiences they went
through, since the role of faith changed in Moishe, who was once such a faithful person.
Faith is not only constantly changing throughout others in the book, but it changes within
Elie as well, which leads him to view both faith and God as a letdown, a burden. As Elie, his
father, and their neighbors arrived to the camp, Birkenau, faith had already been lost in many
people, due to the amount of horrors they were already facing. As Elie spoke about his first night
in Birkenau, he states, Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams
into ashes (Wiesel 34). Wiesel depicts faith as something that had been murdered, or
distinguished because of the terrifying things that were happening all around him. He looked at
his faith as something that had let him down, since he refers to God as murdered. Not only did
Elie look towards his faith in God as a letdown, but he also doubted God and his acts upon his
people, that were so faithful and loyal towards Him. The amount of faith many people felt had
decreased greatly, especially within Elie. When Elie mentions that some of the men in the camps
still spoke of God and His mysterious ways, their sins and the redemption to come, Elie simply
states, As for me, I had ceased to pray. I concurred with Job! I was not denying His existence,
but I doubted His absolute justice (Wiesel 45). Wiesel shows that like others, such as Job, he did
not believe in Gods power. He still believed in Gods existence, but he no longer had faith in
Him, because of the suffering He was putting the Jews through. He is showing that his beliefs in

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faith and God himself were no longer as strong as they once were, they were constantly
changing.
Although Elie viewed faith as a major let down, it was also the only thing that kept him
alive. Faith acted as a savior for him. The faith he felt was not solely towards God, but it also
acted within different areas, to keep him going. The faith in God had been replaced with the faith
he felt in his father. Rather than believing in God, he believed in his father instead, especially
when he says, I did not fast. First of all, to please my father who had forbidden me to do so.
(Wiesel 69). Wiesel shows the reader that he did not fast because of his fathers words, not
because of the words of God, which depicts that his faith is beginning to move to his father. The
act of faith changing from God to another being or object is not only shown with Elie, but with
many others that are enduring the same experiences as Elie. When Elie and his father encounter
Elies uncle, Stein, he asks them if they have any knowledge as to the well-being of his wife and
sons. Elie lies to Stein, and gives him false hope, telling him that his family should be ok.
Because of this, Stein says, The only thing that keeps me alive is to know that Reizel and the
little ones are still alive. Were it not for them, I would give up. (Wiesel 45). Wiesel portrays the
changing functions of faith that once started in God beginning to move to other beings because
of the false hope they felt towards God. This functioning of faith was taking place in all aspects
of objects and people during their time throughout the journey. Towards the end of the book, Elie
and many others were trapped underneath hundreds of piled up bodies, hardly surviving,
including Juliek, who was a boy from Warsaw that Elie knew. As they were being toppled onto
one another, Juliek managed to gasp, Not too much air Tired. Its good to rest, but my
violin I Im afraid Theyll break my violin (Wiesel 93-94). Wiesel shows not only
is faith moving into other beings, but it is also shown throughout other objects. Since Juliek is

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more worried about the condition of his violin rather than his own life, it is portrayed that the
faith he has is because of his violin. His reason to live, and his faith he has is because of the love
he has towards his violin.
Memoirs are memories that one person experiences and chooses to write about. Often
times, these memoirs have a certain purpose or theme that has greatly affected the author
throughout the journey they are writing about, such as faith. In the memoir, Night, written by
Elie Wiesel, faith is a large contribution that helps to justify the meaning of the story, and how it
deeply affected the life of Elie Wiesel. Throughout the story, faith acts as a savior to Elie during
his journey with the Holocaust, but it also acts as large letdown, or a burden in many ways. The
role of faith is constantly changing in the memoir, not only with Elie, but within those around
him as well.