Response to Classmate Asher’s Discussion question on Night

Asher’s question is:

  1. Elie’s view on God and his religious faith are transformed as he goes through this horrific ordeal. Does his faith strengthen or weaken as he see’s the death around him?


My Response:

Before the German soldiers come, Elie is very religious. He get’s up and prays every morning. Even on the day they would depart from the neighborhood of Singhet, Elie got up extra early so he could pray. But as he begins to see his neighbors being transported, being yelled at by German guards to hurry along, and being stripped of their homes and identities, his religious faith begins to transform. This transformation is epitomized when Elie is in line for the gas chamber.

While Elie is in line to die, he hears his father begin to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. This prayer states, “May His name be celebrated and sanctified.” However, this is when Elie feels a great anger rise within him. He states, “Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, close to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?” This transformation that Elie experiences is a powerful realization for him, and his faith becomes weaker, but just for a moment.

Moments later, as Elie and his father are closer to the gas chamber, he found himself whispering the words of, “May His name be exalted and sanctified,” when his heart is about to burst. Seconds later, they are asked to turn left and are herded to barracks. In the face of death, his faith was revived and was strenghtened when exactly after he recites the prayer, they turn away from the gas chamber. This could have strengthened Elie’s faith because it as if God heard his prayer. And up until page 47, he remains overall optimistic while in Auschwitz.


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