Elie's perspective of his father in Chapter 1 of the memoir is that his dad is rather removed from his family; he is emotionally absent. When Elie discusses the possibility of studying Jewish Cabbalism, Elie's father basically scoffs at the idea. He still sees Elie as a child even as Elie is trying to assert himself as a young adult. Elie longs for his father's approval, but he also has strong spiritual hopes; in fact, he is almost ethereally optimistic at the memoir's beginning, while his father is practical and realistic.
I personally think that Elie's relationship with his father is typical of father-son relationships, especially when a father has only one son. The son longs for his father's approval, while the father withholds it because he wants his son to grow up and become a strong man.