Ellie Wiesel's Night


The biblical story of how God and Satan tested Job’s faith is one of the most dramatic stories ever told. As a cost for his faithfulness, Job had to lose all property as well as family. His story has been used to relate other episodes of suffering in the recent past; such as the Holocaust. Moreover, it appears that in order to understand why things happen the way they do, there is a need to completely understand the nature of God. In Ellie Wiesel’s Night, Eliezer’s understanding of God changes gradually throughout the book from a bitter and doubtful child to a believer in the existence of a God who works differently from human beings.


Eliezer’s understanding of God changes on the basis of the turn of events. In the beginning, he views God as an isolated figure who does not participate or is not present in the daily lives of people especially when they are suffering. For example, the author’s father was beaten to death, children were burnt to death and his family was killed. The other event that led to this assertion was the killing of a young boy in one of the most merciless ways. On this basis and others, Eliezer purports that God must have had covered his face. However, as the plot proceeds, other events happen so differently that Eliezer views God from a different angle. For instance, although during the handing of a child in front of others in the camp somebody asked “Where is God”, a voice in Eliezer answered “And I heard a voice within me answer him: ... Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows” (Wielsen 61). In other words, there was still some voice of reason in him: the voice of God.

In the early stages, it appears that the narrator was very bitter. He says that “Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.” (Wiesel 32).  However, after Moshe, the temple caretaker tells him that "man raises himself toward God by the questions he asks Him", he deeply thinks about it. It is as if he was being told that he must live beyond the material world; he had to transcend himself such that even in times of suffering, he could still trust that God exists and that whatever happens does so for a reason.

Towards the end of the book, Buchenwald would be liberated. In the same way, Eliezer’s view about God would change again. During the death march, before his father died, he prayed to a God he did not believe in; “And, in spite of myself, a prayer rose in my heart, to that God in whom I no longer believed. My God, Lord of the Universe, give me strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou's son has done” (Wiesel 29). The son in question had left his father who had begun to limp as they marched. Following their liberation courtesy of the U.S. Army, Eliezar confirmed that the inner voice thfat whispered to him was actually God’s voice and that he was alive not dead.


Suffering is always a bad thing; it makes people denounce God. However, it is clear that God does not fit in the confines of time that human’s create for him. He works in a different way. Night was an almost-fiction story of the real happenings in the Nazi Germany. Although the narrator could not understand why God was hiding His face from them, he later realized that God’s face was still visible especially after they were liberated years later.

Order now

Related essays