What is the inheritance that Elie receives from his father in Night?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Elie receives a faith in God that survives despite the hell on Earth that he endures.

Elie begins Night as a "deeply observant" almost thirteen year old Jewish boy in Sighet. In some ways, his faith was deeper than that of his father - Elie wanted to study the Kabbalah, "the secrets of Jewish mysticism." Elie's father discourages this, telling Elie that he needed to mature before delving into those beliefs.

But Elie's faith continued to be a part of him. In the horrific experiences of the concentration camps, Elie rebelled. He couldn't accept that God would permit the inhumanity and suffering that he was witnesssing and experiencing.

Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?

Elie shuts himself off from God during the struggle to survive. He refuses to believe that any God would allow the Holocaust, would permit the terror he and so many others faced. And yet, the faith remained present, deep within his soul, waiting for him to be able to reconnect and give it expression again. Elie began his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech to God:

Words of gratitude. First to our common Creator. This is what the Jewish tradition commands us to do. At special occasions, one is duty-bound to recite the following prayer:...Blessed by Thou...for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this day.


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