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He cannot imagine that the concentration camps’ unbelievable, disgusting cruelty could possibly reflect divinity.He wonders how a benevolent God could be part of such depravity and how an omnipotent God could permit such cruelty to take place.
It might be argued, too, that innocence is impossible after the Holocaust. Is it tragic, or is innocence an impediment to survival, as when the Jews are too innocent to believe that Hitler really means to kill them?
Eliezer’s struggle with his faith is a dominant conflict in Night. Initially, Eliezer’s faith is a product of his studies in Jewish mysticism, which teach him that God is everywhere in the world, that nothing exists without God, that in fact everything in the physical world is an “emanation,” or reflection, of the divine world.
When Moishe the Beadle is asked why he prays, he replies, “I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions.” In other words, questioning is fundamental to the idea of faith in God.
The Holocaust forces Eliezer to ask horrible questions about the nature of good and evil and about whether God exists.
His faith is equally shaken by the cruelty and selfishness he sees among the prisoners.
If all the prisoners were to unite to oppose the cruel oppression of the Nazis, Eliezer believes, then maybe he could understand the Nazi menace as an evil aberration.
If the world is so disgusting and cruel, he feels, then God either must be disgusting and cruel or must not exist at all.
Though this realization seems to annihilate his faith, Eliezer manages to retain some of this faith throughout his experiences.
But this faith is shaken by his experience during the Holocaust.
” His belief in an omnipotent, benevolent God is unconditional, and he cannot imagine living without faith in a divine power.