In chapter 5 of Night, why didn't Elie fast on Yom Kippur?

In chapter 5 of Night, Elie did not fast on Yom Kippur both because his father told him not to and, more profoundly, because he had lost his faith in God.

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Elie describes the debate that breaks out over Yom Kippur in his barracks. Yom Kippur is a holiday in which Jews practice atonement, making up for their sins of the previous year by fasting.

Some of the Jews, including Elie's father, argue that it is wrong to fast because they are being starved to death at the camp anyway. This act of atonement will just weaken and kill them faster. Others say they should fast because it is so risky, and that taking this risk will show God how faithful and trusting they are of him.

Elie doesn't fast because his father tells him not to. But more profoundly, he doesn't fast because he has bitterly rejected his faith. He no longer believes in God because he thinks a true God would have protected his people from the horror of the camps. Elie sees no point in trying to make up for his sins before God when, to his mind, there is no God.

Elie is only fifteen and struggling with issues and a situation that nobody his age should have to face. He expresses his anger by turning away from God.

Elie is not the only Jew to feel this way. Later in the novel, a "faceless" Jewish prisoner will express this same sense of betrayal when he says to Elie:

I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.

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Elie’s arrival at Auschwitz led him to the realization that the holocaust was unfolding before his eyes. He wondered how such heinous crimes were being committed as the world watched. He saw the burning of babies at the crematoria and witnessed the loss of hope among his people. The men were reciting Kaddish for themselves and this angered him because he believed God had turned away from them. These early events forced Elie to question his faith in both God and humanity because the assistance he expected never arrived.

"Yisgadal, veyiskadash, shmey raba…May His name be celebrated and sanctified…" whispered my father. For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. 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’s first night in the barracks confirmed his loss of faith. He had just been separated from his mother and sister, who were likely burned at the crematoria. Father and son only survived because an older inmate asked them to lie about their age.

Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.

Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.

Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.

In Chapter Five, most of the inmates were fighting for survival. They faced starvation and the idea of fasting during Yom Kippur made no sense because they were starved most of the time while at the camp. It was because of this that Elie’s father asked him not to observe the fast because he wanted his son to survive. On the other hand, Elie had lost his faith in God and by not observing Yom Kippur, he was rebelling against God.

I did not fast. First of all, to please my father who had forbidden me to do so. And then, there was no longer any reason for me to fast. I no longer accepted God's silence. As I swallowed my ration of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion, of protest against Him.

And I nibbled on my crust of bread.

Deep inside me, I felt a great void opening.

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In Chapter Five of Elie Wiesel's memoir of life in the German concentration camps, especially in Auschwitz, Night, he dedicates a brief passage to the arrival of the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Jews are expected to fast.  Fasting while living under the extremely austere conditions imposed on them by their Nazi captors would, as Wiesel's father acknowledged, be redundant.  They were already being starved to death.  In addition to the illogical nature of fasting under these circumstances, Wiesel eschewed the ritual of fasting out of his despondency regarding God's silence amid all of this human suffering.  As Wiesel wrote in this passage:

"I did not fast. First of all, to please my father who had forbidden
me to do so. And then, there was no longer any reason for me
to fast. I no longer accepted God's silence. As I swallowed my ration
of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion, of protest
against Him."

Many Jews turned away from their religious beliefs as a result of the Holocaust, arguing that no just God could allow the systematic extermination of six million people solely for their religious beliefs.  Wiesel's decision to forego the Yom Kippur fast was his personal display of rejection of the notion of a just God.

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In Elie Wiesel's novella "Night" there were many Jewish Holiday's spent in the Nazi Concentration camps.  The incident you are asking about occurred after he and his father had been moved to Buna.  He states in the novel,

"I did not fast.  First of all, to please my father who had forbidden me to do so.  and then, there was no longer any reason for me to fast.  I no longer accepted God's silence.  As I swallowed my ration of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion, of protest against Him.  And I nibbled on my crust bread. (pg 69)

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In the fifth chapter of Elie Wiesel's Night, the concentration camp inmates are debating whether they ought to participate in fasting for Yom Kippur since it would be physically dangerous to deprive themselves of calories even further than they already are deprived in their daily minuscule rations of food. Some of the prisoners say that the danger of fasting is actually an important reason to go ahead and do it. It would prove that their devotion to God is more powerful than the suffering they are going through.

However, Eliezer has begun to have some doubts about God recently, and he decides not to fast for two reasons: first, his father has forbidden him to fast (presumably because of the starvation danger, since Eliezer is still young and has a father who wants to keep him safe), and second, Eliezer wishes to rebel against doing an act that would please God since, as he says in chapter five, "I no longer accepted God's silence". In this way he protests the fact that the God he has always believed in is not fulfilling Eliezer's expectation that God should protect his chosen people from the torture and death they are enduring in the camps.

It is also noteworthy that Eliezer says that after swallowing his soup and nibbling his bread, he "felt a great void opening". This indicates that his act of rebellion against God has been uncomfortable for the once-pious boy who had been training to become a rabbi in his village before the Nazis came. Rejecting something that had been such a huge part of his previous phase of life, Eliezer is left for the present with nothing else to take its place.

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