Explain the significance of the following line:   "Some talked of God, of his mysterious ways, of the sins of the jewish people, and their future deliverance."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the most stunning significance of the line is the reflection of how faith was something that many victims of the Holocaust clung to in the most difficult of times.  The idea that the endurance through the difficulties provided by the Holocaust was a "test" of "faith" is something that Wiesel depicts in his narrative.  This notion of "test" is a belief that the divine is testing individuals, akin to Job in the Scriptures.  This vision is one in which individuals sought to make sense or reason all of that which stood in front of them.  The crematorium, the gas chambers, the selection, the randomness of life and death, and the intense amount of human suffering was given a name, a designation.  This became "God's test."  Eliezer notes this in the narrative as a point of departure as he does not accept this as a condition of his being in what he endures.  This can be seen later on in the narrative where he repudiates God and the idea of the divine after seeing a child hung.  The idea of God "testing" his followers is what enabled many to try to make sense of an experience that defies logic and explanation, and to this point the line holds much in way of significance.


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