Moshe the Beadle is a key character in the first chapter of Elie Wiesel's memoir, Night. He is an eccentric man who draws the attention of young Elie. After Elie’s father forbids him from learning about Jewish mysticism, Elie goes to Moshe for lessons. To Elie, Moshe is a brilliant, sympathetic person.
As Moshe the Beadle is a foreigner, he is expelled with other foreign Jews early on in the war. For a time Elie believes that Moshe is at a work camp, and that he might actually be happy there. One day Elie finds Moshe sitting on a bench near Sighet’s synagogue.
Moshe tells a story of slaughter, that the Germans made the Jewish prisoners dig their own graves before killing them. The children were used for target practice. He escaped only by playing dead. “The joy in his eyes was gone,” Wiesel writes. “He no longer sang. He no longer mentioned either God or the Kabbalah. He spoke only of what he had seen.” Moshe spends the remainder of the first chapter telling other Jews his story, urging them to escape while they still can. Unfortunately, no one believes him.