Discuss the theme of eternity in Night.

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At the beginning of Night, the author describes the evenings he spent in study with Moishe the Beadle, in which he seemed to be discovering "the very essence of divinity." He writes:

And in the course of those evenings I became convinced that Moishe the Beadle would help me...

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At the beginning of Night, the author describes the evenings he spent in study with Moishe the Beadle, in which he seemed to be discovering "the very essence of divinity." He writes:

And in the course of those evenings I became convinced that Moishe the Beadle would help me enter eternity, into that time when question and answer would become ONE.

The theological concept of eternity explored here refers not to an afterlife, always a shadowy concept in Judaism, but to an escape from time. Wiesel hopes that when question and answer become one, he will be able to live, like God, in a boundless present, escaping from the tyranny of chronology.

This tyranny is just what is waiting for Wiesel. There are few references to eternity after this. The most telling of them mentions "the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live." Indeed, it is the slowing down of time in an apparently endless meeting of the Council that is the first sign of trouble for Wiesel and his family.

We stood, waiting for the door to open. Neighbors, hearing the rumors, had joined us. We stared at our watches. Time had slowed down. What was the meaning of such a long session?

It is not for nothing that prisoners talk about "doing time." A devout Christian might, perhaps, have continued to hope for the afterlife, but Wiesel's concept of eternity required space, freedom, and, in a tragic irony, time. Life in the camp forced him into a squalid routine of boredom punctuated by terror, of one thing after another. In such circumstances, it was impossible to enter eternity.

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